You may be wondering why I’m pointing out that Sumner Redstone fired Viacom CEO Tom Freston.
Frustrated by Viacom’s lagging stock price and impatient with its progress on the digital entertainment front, the 83-year-old Redstone ousted Chief Executive Tom Freston, 60, and replaced him with his longtime advisors Philippe P. Dauman and Thomas E. Dooley. The new team is the same one that led Viacom from 1996 to 2000, after Redstone had fired an earlier CEO, Frank Biondi.
I bring this up here because nothing happens in a vacuum, and with Viacom involved in the feature film and cable business, you can be sure this of interest inside the corporate offices of Disney.
Early this year, the corporate conglomerate then known as Viacom, the product of high-profile mergers bringing Paramount Pictures, Infinity Radio, MTV, Nickelodian, and the CBS television network under the same umbrella, split into two companies… Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp. Sumner Redstone stayed in place as Chairman of both companies, but the CEO spot of Viacm when to Freston and the CEO spot of CBS went to Les Moonves. It was a move rumors said was to placate egos as much as it was to help the stock. It will be interesting to see if this also will end up having an impact on CBS, which is, of course, another competitor of Disney’s ABC as well as potential purchaser of Disney content.