National Amusements — owned by Sumner Redstone and holder of 80 percent control over Viacom’s voting stock — has released a statement veritably raking Viacom’s senior leadership over the coals, following the media giant’s reporting lower profits for Q3. Nickelodeon and all its brands are under the Viacom media umbrella, alongside Paramount, Comedy Central, MTV, BET, CMT, VH1, et al.
The statement reiterates the need for leadership changes at the company previously called for by National Amusements and other investors: “In recent years, the company’s senior management has overseen a steep erosion of revenue growth, earnings, operating performance, financial capacity and shareholder returns—with Viacom ranking at or near the very bottom of industry peers across many of these critical metrics. At the same time, there has been a significant exodus of creative and business talent. Viacom’s third-quarter performance does little if anything to change these adverse trends.”
National Amusements took specific aim at CEO Philippe Dauman, who is contracted through 2018 and who raked in $54.2 million in compensation from Viacom for 2015: “Mr. Dauman is the third highest paid CEO in the United States and among the worst as measured by pay for performance … Including his pre-negotiated ‘golden parachute,’ he stands to receive almost a half billion dollars for a tenure that has seen the marked decline of one of the nation’s greatest media companies.”
The majority shareholder previously exercised its rights to appoint five new directors with “fresh, forward-looking thinking” to the board, with this announcement boosting Viacom’s stock 7 percent. However, according to this week’s statement, the current board has been obstructing necessary changes. National Amusements adds that despite these problems, it remains “confident in the underlying value and potential of Viacom’s assets.”
Viacom responded with its own statement: “Viacom continues to execute on its strategic plan, which is supported by a majority of its independent board. As discussed by management on this morning’s earnings call, we are looking to the future and executing on the significant growth opportunities we see around the world. In contrast, It is unfortunate that one of our directors feels the need to try to damage the company in response to losses in the courtroom.”