Embattled Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman Takes His Case to the Company's Employees

Philippe Dauman
Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Philippe Dauman, president and chief executive officer Viacom Inc., arrives to a morning session during the Allen & Co. Media and Technology Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho on Thursday, July 10, 2014. 

Amid the high-stakes battle for control of Viacom, CEO Philippe Dauman sent out an email Tuesday to all of the company's employees admitting that the succession feud “is a distraction and it can create speculation and concern” even as he set out to make the case for why he believes “our company [is moving] rapidly and successfully into the future.”

Earlier Tuesday, Sumner Redstone appointed two new trustees to the trust and named two new board members to National Amusements, the company through which he controls Viacom and CBS Corp. Redstone’s latest move came in the wake of his removal of Dauman and attorney George Abrams as trustees and board members on May 20 via fax. In a statement, Redstone said, “This is my trust and my decision. I have picked those who are loyal to me and removed those who are not.”

The embattled Dauman and Abrams have filed a lawsuit challenging their removal from the trust. Dauman has argued that Shari Redstone has been manipulating her father, who turns 93 on Friday.

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In his email, Dauman not only sought to reassure employees, be he also put forth an update on Viacom’s various business. While he said Viacom has “strengthened our domestic media networks,” he acknowledged that “on the advertising front, we have had a challenging year, but we are well positioned as we head into our next fiscal year.”

In the case of Viacom’s Paramount Pictures, Dauman conceded that “Paramount has had a difficult year so far,” but he held out hope for summer tentpoles Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows and Star Trek Beyond. Noting that under chairman and CEO Brad Grey, the studio is ramping up production with a target of turning out 15 motion pictures a year, Dauman said that “we continue to explore a strategic partnership in Paramount that we believe will accelerate the studio’s growth well into the future and generate significant value for Viacom.”

Read the full text of Dauman’s email at THR.com.


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