Beacon Transcript – Sumner Redstone has announced that he will be officially stepping down from the Viacom board of directors as he will retire to a chairman emeritus role.
Viacom Inc. is a Manhattan, New York-based media conglomerate. Its primary targets are the cable and cinema industry. The conglomerate is considered to be amongst the world’s largest cable and broadcast companies, according to their revenues.
National Amusements Inc. is the Viacom voting control. The theater company is owned and controlled by Sumner Redstone.
The Massachusetts-based company is primarily owned by Redstone. Remaining shares are owned by his daughter, Shari Redstone.
National Amusements holds the supervoting shares and as such controls both Viacom and CBS Corporation. Whilst CBS Corporation is best known for CBS, Viacom is also known for being the owner of Paramount Pictures.
Sumner Redstone’s decision to renounce his place on the board of directors was announced on Friday. It was made known through a company proxy statement.
The same release announced that Shari, Redstone’s daughter will remain on the board. She will also be officially taking over National Amusements. Before the statement, Shari Redstone had 20 percent of the company shares. Sumner Redstone had the remaining 80 percent.
Redstone’s step down will take effect in two months time. It will probably come after the annual Viacom meeting. This is set to take place February 6, 2017.
Following his retirement, Sumner Redstone will retain a chairman emeritus status. This means he will have a non-voting role on the Viacom board.
His Viacom decision come after two other step downs. Earlier this year, Redstone also renounced his CBS and Viacom chairman role.
Some analysts have been less than surprised about the step-down. Sumner Redstone is 93 years old. The respectable age and health condition are believed to be amongst the contributing factors.
Redstone’s advanced age also brought forth questions about his ability to lead. Earlier this same year, the previous Viacom CEO filed a lawsuit.
Phillipe Dauman, the former CEO, and other board members questioned the man’s capability of making business decisions. They argued that Shari was unduly influencing him.
The lawsuit led way to a management turnover initiated by the Redstones. Following the addition of new board members, the company also chose a new CEO.
Viacom chose Bob Bakish, the acting CEO. Earlier this week, Bakish was officially elected as President and CEO.
Viacom is the parent company of networks such as MTV and Comedy Central. As they target the younger audience, they have also been raising a number of strategy questions.
Most are wondering how they will survive as their audience is turning more and more towards the digital. This has also been one of the causes for a possible merger.
In order to redress Viacom’s decrease, the Redstones had been driving for a merger with CBS. However, the plan, which was advanced in September, was withdrawn.
Shari and Sumner Redstone are reportedly pleased with Viacom’s current direction. Shari went to release a statement on the matter. She expressed her approval of the new company movement.
Redstone also went to congratulate Brakish on his strategy plans and on his passion and hard work. As such, the family has withdrawn the CBS merger plans.
Viacom’s faith remains to be seen. With a target audience cutting back on traditional TV hours, it remains to be seen how the company will retain its independent status.
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