Sumner Redstone, 89, Has Certainly Made Some Business Moves That Have Raised Eyebrows Over the Years — Including His Latest Move: Appointing a Former ‘Today’ Show Co-Host to the Viacom Board

Mar 22, 2013  •  Post A Comment

Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone has made a move that some in the business world find puzzling, reports the New York Post.

The 89-year-old Redstone on Thursday nominated TV journalist Deborah Norville to the Viacom board, a move that’s puzzling because she has no experience running international media conglomerates or in business or technology, the story notes.

Norville, the host of "Inside Edition" and a former host of NBC’s "Today," is married to Swedish banker Karl Wellner.

“This is completely inappropriate and would be considered in any other company problematic,” said Charles Elson, an expert in corporate governance and chair at the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance.

But because Viacom has a dual-class share structure, Redstone has voting control, Elson notes. "It doesn’t matter who they are — it’s his board," he said.

The report adds: “Also appointed to the board yesterday was Cristiana Falcone Sorrell, the accomplished wife of deep-pocketed ad man Martin Sorrell, the chief executive of WPP, which controls global marketing spending of $66.7 billion. She is also an adviser to the chairman of the World Economic Forum on Media.”

Immediately after the annual meeting, both nominees were elected to the board, the report notes. The piece quotes a high-level media executive saying: “These are two passive, not strong, board members.”

Added another source: “The role of director is to monitor management, and they don’t fit the bill.”

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