With his 92nd birthday approaching on May 27, entertainment titan Sumner Redstone has issued a statement about his succession plan – and it says he hasn’t made one.
Speculation has surrounded the future leadership of Viacom Inc. and CBS Corporation since the billionaire executive chairman of both companies missed earnings calls earlier this year and started to be seen less frequently in public amid rumors of health concerns.
Recent press reports claimed that Redstone had decided that his daughter, Shari Redstone, 61, would succeed him after he dies.
But the mogul, in a statement released Thursday, insists no such decision has been made and said he will leave it to others to decide on succession after his death. Until then, Redstone said he remains very much in charge.
The short statement reads as follows:
“As I have always said, I believe strongly in professional management and appropriate corporate governance. Decisions about who will succeed me as chairman of CBS and Viacom will be made by the boards of the respective companies and not by any individual.
“Despite press reports to the contrary, such decisions have not yet been made. After my death, my ownership interest in the companies will be overseen by a group of seven trustees who will make fiduciary decisions based solely on the best interests of the beneficiaries of the trust. Until that time, I will continue to make all such decisions.”
One of the most enduring and richest figures in the entertainment world, Redstone won control of Viacom in 1987 and spun off CBS in 2006. He ranked third on the Business Journal’s list of the Wealthiest Angelenos last year, with an estimated net worth of $7.8 billion.