A showdown between CBS and Viacom Vice Chair Shari Redstone and Viacom CEO and President Philippe Dauman could come to a head today as Viacom’s board meets to address the transition from Sumner Redstone’s role running the company.
The meeting comes one day after Sumner Redstone resigned as executive chairman of CBS Corp., with Leslie Moonves stepping up to become CBS chairman.
“Shari Redstone and Dauman are expected to face off at the meeting given the statement she issued Wednesday asserting that Viacom needs an independent leader, not someone who is connected to the Redstone family trust,” Variety reports. “Moonves fits that description; Dauman does not.”
Describing a “collision course” between Shari Redstone and Dauman, Variety adds: “Although Shari Redstone has made it clear she does not want an operational role at Viacom, she may assert her right to succeed her father on an interim basis to block Dauman from being elected to the role and until a new chairman can be installed.”
Writing in The New York Times, Jennifer Saba calls the Viacom transition “fraught” and likens the Redstone family drama over the past year to an episode of “Game of Thrones.”
In her analysis, Saba writes: “Nominating Mr. Moonves as chairman squares things away for CBS, which has managed to keep itself relatively unsullied by the events. The same can’t be said of Viacom, the owner of the cable network MTV and the movie studio Paramount Pictures. For one thing, the company’s performance has trailed that of CBS, which was supposed to be the more boring of the two when they split a decade ago, and shareholders are restless despite Mr. Redstone’s controlling voting stake.”