Various news organization report that Viacom Inc. exec chairman/founder Sumner Redstone has ousted Tom Freston and the company's board of directors has appointed Philippe P. Dauman, 52, president/ceo. The board also named Thomas E. Dooley, 49, to the newly created position of svp/chief administrative officer.
Dauman succeeds Freston, 60, who has resigned his positions with Viacom. Redstone said the board was disappointed with the company's stock performance and opted for more aggressive management. Viacom's stock has underperformed that of CBS Corp. after the two companies split up at the beginning of the year.
Dauman and Dooley, who are members of the Viacom board of directors, served in a number of senior exec positions at Viacom, including as deputy chairmen from 1996 to 2000. Dauman reports Redstone, while Dooley reports Dauman.
Dauman and Dooley have worked closely with Redstone and with each other for more than two decades. Since 2000, they have been co-chairmen/ceos of DND Capital Partners Llc., a private equity firm specializing in media and telecommunication investments. Dauman, a director of Viacom since 1987, served from 1994 to 2000 as a member of Viacom's exec committee and as evp in charge of strategic transactions, legal and government affairs, human resources and administration, with supervisory responsibility for Paramount Ent., Showtime Networks and Simon & Schuster. he also was general counsel of Viacom from 1993 to 1998.
Dooley held various corporate positions at Viacom from 1980 to 2000, including member of the exec committee and evp, finance, corporate development and communications. He served as a member of the Viacom board from 1996 to 2000 and rejoined the board in 2006.
Redstone stated: "Viacom has tremendous potential to grow aggressively, both domestically and internationally. We have extremely strong and unique entertainment brands that resonate with audiences through all distribution platforms and a significant presence in worldwide motion picture production and distribution through our Paramount studio. I have worked closely with Philippe Dauman for many years, and I have a comfort level with him and high regard for his leadership abilities, strong financial and operational skills, and superb judgment. The entire Viacom Board and I are confident he has the strategic and creative vision to take the company forward and the drive and energy to execute relentlessly on our strategy.
"I am also very pleased that Tom Dooley, who has worked very closely with Philippe and me over the years, has agreed to join us and bring his broad experience and considerable skills to bear in our efforts to accelerate Viacom's profitable growth in a rapidly evolving media environment. I could not be more pleased to be teaming up again with Philippe and Tom, who are two of the most extraordinary executives I have ever known and with whom I shared the most productive and successful period in Viacom's history."
Redstone continued, "I have great respect for Tom Freston and want to personally thank him for his tremendous contributions to Viacom over the past 20 years. Tom successfully built MTV Networks into an unmatched force in the entertainment industry and assembled a best-in-class operational team to build on that foundation. Tom has been a friend and a colleague for many years and we wish him well as he moves on to the next stage of his career."
Freston, a founder of MTV, became president of Viacom in January when it split from CBS. In 2001, Freston was named personality of the year for the 18th MIPCOM, the International Film and Program Market for TV, Video, Cable and Satellite.
Freston stated: "I've spent over 26 years at Viacom, 18 of them with Sumner. With my exceptional colleagues, we built a worldwide powerhouse of brands and businesses, literally from scratch. I leave many good friends knowing that they have an unmatched track record, a great plan going forward and incredible abilities to execute on it in this digital age. I have worked closely with Philippe Dauman and Tom Dooley over the years and have the highest respect for their abilities. I have every confidence that Viacom is well positioned to prosper under Philippe's leadership. I will do all I can to insure a smooth transition. I particularly want to thank my colleagues from all over the company who have been inspiring to work with and have been so instrumental in the great success we've had."
Viacom (www.viacom.com) is one of the leading global entertainment content companies, with prominent and respected brands in focused demographics. Offering programming and content for television, motion pictures and digital platforms, Viacom's world-class brands include MTV Networks (MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, Comedy Central, CMT: Country Music Television, Spike TV, TV Land, Logo and more than 120 networks around the world), BET Networks, Paramount Pictures, Paramount Home Entertainment, DreamWorks and Famous Music.