Sumner Redstone says his daughter Shari won’t be running the family business, and that he’ll be buying out her stakes in CBS and Viacom, the NYT says that Sumner tells CNBC today.
In the interview, Mr. Redstone said flatly that his daughter was no longer the company’s heir apparent and that she would leave the board as part of an agreement he had reached with her.
“Will she succeed you?” David Faber, a CNBC correspondent, asked on the program “Business Nation,” which he moderates. Mr. Redstone replied, “No.”
“The reason she won’t succeed me is not she — that she isn’t qualified,” he added, comparing CBS and Viacom with National Amusements, the movie theatre company where his daughter is president. “But I have made it clear that good governance requires — these are two public companies, they’re not private like National — that two companies, the boards should decide who succeeds me. I’m not worried about it ’cause it’s going to be another 20, 30 years.”
Told of Mr. Redstone’s comments, Nancy Sterling, a spokeswoman for Ms. Redstone, said the comments were “absolutely inaccurate.” Ms. Sterling said that “there is no final agreement” and as a result, “this calls into question the veracity of anything else he might say.”
We don’t have a dog in this fight. But you know what? Nancy Sterling sounds right to us.
July 20, 2007: “While my daughter talks of good governance, she apparently ignores the cardinal rule of good governance that the boards of the two public companies, Viacom and CBS, should select my successor.”
August 6, 2007: “The press … created an inflammatory situation out of nothing. Shari loves me. I love Shari. What’s in her interest is in my interest. What more can I say? I’m not about to throw Shari out of anything.”
September 19, 2007: “She’s innovative. She’s creative. Shari has done a sensational job.”
Octoberish*, 2007: Sumner tells Forbes Shari must “change her behaviour” to win over the boards of Viacom and CBS.
November 7, 2007: “There was a negotiation. Some of the press made it into a war. I love my daughter. I respect her. She loves me; she respects me.”
*Quote from a Forbes magazine article dated November 12, 2007; due to the vagaries of magazine publishing, this means Sumner said this sometime by late October 2007.