Viacom Nears Deal to Keep Top Management Intact

21 March 2003

The combative leadership of US media giant Viacom may soon be settled – with the status quo remaining pretty much intact.

The contract of president/chief operating officer Mel Karmazin expires at the end of this year, and it has hitherto been far from clear that he would sign a new one.

He has been hesitating because chairman/ceo Sumner Redstone made it clear he wants more power over the company – a concession the president has been unwilling to make. Redstone relinquished operating control to secure the acquisition of network CBS (of which Karmazin was in charge), but three years on he wants some of this authority back.

Now the duo are said to be nearing a deal to keep them together, ending months of acrimony. The group’s board reportedly met Wednesday to discuss the agreement.

Terms of the contract under discussion out are unknown, but are likely to see some dilution of Karmazin’s power.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff