Dauman named chairman at Viacom, Redstone steps down

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New York (AFP)

US entertainment giant Viacom said Thursday that Philippe Dauman would take on the role of executive chairman as 92-year-old Sumner Redstone steps aside.

The announcement comes a day after Redstone stepped down as chairman at CBS Corp. and ends a period of uncertainty at the leadership of the two media giants controlled by Redstone and his family.

Redstone will hold the title of chairman emeritus at Viacom, as well as at CBS.

Dauman adds the title of executive chairman to the roles of president and chief executive, jobs he has held since 2006 at the conglomerate which operates Paramount studios in Hollywood as well as a range of television operations including Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and MTV channels.

"Philippe has been instrumental with Sumner in every aspect of Viacom's success for nearly 30 years and most recently as CEO has taken on the tough task of navigating our future in a time of unprecedented innovation and disruption," said William Schwartz, who headed the board's nominating committee.

"He has laid out a strategic long-term vision for the company that we fully endorse. We have complete confidence that his dedication to Viacom, his global experience and his determination to further our culture of creativity and innovation will continue to serve the interests of all shareholders and build long-term value."

Redstone's fragile health and uncertainty about who would take over from him had caused shareholder anxiety at CBS and Viacom.

Both companies -- in which Redstone and his family hold controlling stakes -- are facing threats from the shift of viewers to Internet-based on-demand services such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu.

Redstone has appeared frail in recent years, and his health was the subject of a court complaint filed by an ex-girlfriend who claimed he was unable to even make his own health care decisions.

Manuela Herzer has portrayed the billionaire tycoon in court documents as a "living ghost" obsessed with sex and steak, who is out of touch with his surroundings.