Viacom CEO Dauman departs with $72M severance package

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman speaks with Recode's Kara Swisher. (Joi Ito/Flickr)

The battle over Viacom appears to have ended with CEO Philippe Dauman reportedly accepting a $72 million severance package.

Reuters reports that the lucrative exit deal for Dauman comes as Viacom and Sumner Redstone have finally reached a settlement agreement for control of the struggling media conglomerate.

Viacom COO Tom Dooley will take over as interim CEO as part of the agreement.

The decision, if final, would put a cap on a lengthy legal battle between Dauman and Viacom. In May, Dauman filed a complaint with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Probate and Family Court to dispute his ouster from a family trust by Redstone.

Dauman's suit claimed that the 92-year-old Redstone was not capable of calling the shots and that he was being manipulated by his daughter, Shari Redstone.

"Shari Redstone is attempting to illegally hijack her father's well-established estate plan," Dauman said in a statement. "We will continue to have great respect and affection for Mr. Redstone, but he is clearly being manipulated by his daughter, Shari."

In June, Sumner Redstone's National Amusements opted to remove five members, including Dauman, from the Viacom board of directors. The company also removed board members George Abrams, Blythe McGarvie, Frederic Salerno and William Schwartz.

Salerno filed suit to block his removal, claiming that "under Mr. Redstone's long-standing estate plan, control and management would remain independent of Shari [Redstone], for whom Mr. Redstone generously provided but who he determined did not have the skills to control or manage Viacom and from whom he was bitterly estranged for many years."

To fill the vacant board seats at Viacom, National Amusements appointed Buzzfeed Chairman Kenneth Lerer, Everforce Energy Chairman Thomas May, Cane Investments CEO Judith McHale, Avis Budget Group Chairman Ronald Nelson and former Sony Entertainment President Nicole Seligman.

Although Reuters has yet to confirm the settlement with either Viacom or National Amusements, Viacom’s stock has risen more than two percent in early morning trading.

For more:
- read this Reuters article

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