Viacom Names Dauman Chairman

Just as CBS’ Les Moonves was named to chairman on Wednesday, Philippe Dauman, president/CEO of Viacom, has been named chairman of Viacom.

Both Viacom and CBS are controlled by National Amusements. Sumner Redstone, 92, who had been executive chairman of both companies, has stepped down from these positions due to health reasons. He will become chairman emeritus of Viacom -- the same position he took at CBS on Wednesday.

Shari Redstone, vice chair of the CBS board, as well as vice chair of Viacom and president of National Amusements, declined an offer from the Viacom board to become non-executive chairman of Viacom. She will continue in her role as Non-Executive Vice Chair.

Some analysts had speculated that Redstone would be taking the chairman role at Viacom--due to concerns about lagging business at the company.



William Schwartz, chairman of the governance and nominating committee of Viacom’s board of directors, stated: “In choosing a successor to Sumner, The Board considered the need for seasoned leadership in this time of unprecedented change.”

Schwartz went on to say Dauman’s “business experience and unparalleled knowledge of Viacom, and his long-term vision for the Company” was a key reason for the move. Dauman became president/chief executive officer of Viacom in 2006.

Long term, Todd Juenger, senior media analyst of Bernstein Research, believes Viacom faces some obstacles.

He wrote on Thursday: “We don't believe there is anything that any new management team can do to get kids and teens to put down their iPads and go back to watching old-fashioned, ad-supported TV... We believe it's too late to pivot Viacom's business mix away from their dependence on kids/teens.”

In addition, he added: “We believe Viacom's ability to sell monetize audiences through advertising is structurally impaired. If Viacom begins to lose distribution, the financial outlook is dire.”

He believed some of Viacom’s assets are ripe to be sold -- Paramount Pictures and Channel 5 in the U.K.

Midday trading of Viacom’s stock was up 0.3% to $44.81.

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