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Dolan Backs Off Plan to Reshape Cablevision Board

Apr 26, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Cablevision Systems Chairman Charles Dolan is backing off of a plan to reshape the cable operator’s board of directors, including reducing the number of directors and having Mr. Dolan himself elect three-quarters of its members.

Mr. Dolan offered no explanation for the about-face, which was outlined in a regulatory filing submitted Tuesday to the Securities and Exchange Commission. However, his change of heart, which was reached at an April 22 board meeting, came after he lost a bruising battle with the board over the fate of his struggling satellite service Voom.

Mr. Dolan had wanted to keep the venture alive, but he faced fierce opposition from several board members, including his son, Cablevision CEO James Dolan. The imbroglio led Charles Dolan to oust three board members and install people he considered more aligned with his interests.

He also moved to reduce the size of the board to 12 from is present 15 and said he would use his family’s voting power to elect three-quarters of the board, with the remaining three directors elected by Cablevision shareholders–a move that sparked concern among investors and corporate-governance experts. Mr. Dolan’s family controls 75 percent of Cablevision’s voting power.

After a weeks-long battle, Cablevision and Mr. Dolan agreed to give Mr. Dolan until the end of March to come up with a financing plan for Voom. In the end, however, Mr. Dolan failed to put a plan together and eventually gave up his dream for Voom, agreeing with the board to shut down the service by the end of the month.