Ex-Viacom CEO Freston Bids Farewell by Staff

Sep 8, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Viacom Inc. staffers gave ousted CEO Tom Freston a huge sendoff Thursday afternoon, with well-wishers filling the lobby of the company’s Manhattan headquarters and giving the executive a 10-minute ovation.

Mr. Freston, who was in California Monday when he found out he was being replaced, was in New York to clear some items from his office. An e-mail circulated urging staffers to gather in the lobby to give Mr. Freston a proper farewell.

“It was unbelievable,” said one long-time MTV Networks executive. “Everyone loved working for him.”

After Mr. Freston lost his job earlier this week, Viacom Chairman Sumner said new leadership would bolster the company’s shares, improve its relations with Wall Street and help it compete as media companies adjust to digital technology. Mr. Freston had helped guide Viacom, owner of the MTV Networks cable-television channels, for more than 26 years.

On Thursday, Viacom released details of the pay packages for the company’s two new top executives.

New CEO Phillippe Dauman will earn $2 million in salary and be eligible for a bonus of $7 million. He was also granted stock options worth $12 million and a long-term incentive worth $12 million.

Tom Dooley, named senior executive VP and COO, will get a salary of $1.6 million and a bonus of $5.6 million. Mr. Dooley gets stock options worth $9.6 million and long-term incentives worth a similar amount.