Thursday, January 21, 2016

As the Sumner Turns

The publicity around Sumner's current mental capacity has led to a lawsuit from investors who want the company to stop giving so much money to a man who is clearly not contributing. That led to this news today in Tom Taylor's NOW column...

Viacom says it slashed payouts to Sumner Redstone and CEO Philippe Daumann. The operative phrase is “under pressure.” The board didn’t wait long to reveal this, after a shareholder suit was filed and after the questions about Executive Chairman Sumner Redstone and his past girlfriends and present mental condition. Viacom says it chopped Sumner’s total compensation for 2015 from about $13 million to $2 million. While the bonus for Viacom CEO Daumann was trimmed 30%, to $14 million. (Daumann’s sometimes referred to by observers as “the son Redstone never had.”) You read here yesterday about the shareholder suit questioning the large amounts paid to Redstone when he was allegedly “physically and mentally incapacitated.” And piling on, Viacom shareholder SpringOwl Asset Management challenges the company to improve the stock price by (among other things) pushing out Redstone and Daumann. Of course anything that affects Viacom like that also affects the other company controlled by Sumner Redstone – CBS.

"But this is my company," a mentally alert Sumner might say. "I built it into what it is today."

"Yes you did," the investors would respond. "Now give me my money and get out of the way old man."

"How could you do this to me?" he might wonder, before remembering. "Ooooh. That's right. This is exactly what I did to people my entire adult life. My whole life was a ruthless insatiable money grab."

(Knock Knock)

"Who is it?"

"It's Karma. Is Sumner there?"

(And, Scene)