Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman reserves right to quit if ousted from board

By Allen Cone  |  July 19, 2016 at 10:17 AM
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NEW YORK, July 19 (UPI) -- Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman is reserving the right to leave the company if he's ousted from the board.

Dauman and Viacom Chief Operating Officer Tom Dooley say they will resign for "good reason" if Summer Redstone's legal actions are successful, according to a regulatory filing Monday by Viacom, whose TV networks include MTV and Comedy Central.

Redstone, 93, has a $40 billion media empire that includes Viacom and CBS. He controls almost 80 percent of the voting stock at Viacom and similar amount in CBS Corp., is trying to remove Dauman and four other directors from the board. He wants to boot Dauman and George Abrams, another former confidante, from a family trust that will eventually oversee his affairs. He also wants to eject them from the board of his National Amusements Inc., which controls Viacom, and from their roles at Viacom.

Under the terms of their contracts,Dauman and Dooley have 31 days to depart if a legal order confirms the validity of controlling shareholder Redstone's move to shake up the board. The letters are dated July 15.

The two would would get severance payouts -- $83 million for Dauman and $63 million for Dooley -- according to Bloomberg Pay Index calculations last month.

"The letters note that Messrs. Dauman and Dooley are highly engaged in overseeing Viacom's operations and are committed to pursuing and executing Viacom's strategic plan for the duration of their respective employment agreements," Viacom said in the filing.

Dauman says Redstone is not mentally competent to make decisions and alleges he's being improperly influenced by his daughter Shari.

Dauman's suit was filed in Massachusetts, where the Redstone trust was executed, and fighting him in Delaware, Viacom's corporate domicile. Redstone wants the Massachusetts litigation decided in California, where he lives.

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