Sumner Redstone’s National Amusements Inc. announced Thursday it elected to replace five board members at Viacom Inc., exercising its power as the majority shareholder of the Santa Monica-based firm’s voting stock.
Viacom’s chief executive and chairman Phillipe Dauman is among the five directors to be removed from the 11-member board. The four other Viacom board members to be replaced are George. Abrams, Blythe. McGarvie, Federic Sarlerno, and William Schwartz.
Dauman will remain Viacom’s chief executive, according to a statement by National Amusements.
“It will be the responsibility of the newly constituted Board to evaluate the current management team and take whatever steps it deems appropriate to ensure that Viacom has in place strong, independent, and effective leadership,” said Justin Dini, a partner at New York-based communications firm Brunswick Group, in a statement.
The new Viacom directors include Kenneth Lerer, co-founder of The Huffington Post; Thomas May, chairman of Eversource Energy; Judith McHale, president and chief executive at Cane Investments; Ronald Nelson, chairman at Avis Budget Group, and Nicole Seligman, former president of Sony Entertainment.
National Amusements also announced it filed papers in the Delaware Court of Chancery to affirm the validity of its action and maintain stability until any challenges arising from the removals are resolved. Until the case is finalized, the existing Viacom board will remain in place.
Shares of Viacom stock jumped 7 percent in the hours following the announcement.
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