Sumner Redstone on Tuesday appointed two new trustees to the trust and named two new board members to National Amusements, the company through which he controls Viacom and CBS Corp.
Joining the trust, which will be in charge of his 80 percent stakes in the entertainment companies once he dies or is deemed incapacitated, are National Amusements executive vp and general counsel Tad Jankowski and former media executive and entertainment industry analyst Jill Krutick.
Krutick also joins the National Amusements board along with Redstone’s oldest granddaughter Kimberlee Ostheimer.
The move comes in the wake of Viacom chairman and CEO Philippe Dauman and attorney George Abrams being removed as trustees and board members on Friday via fax.
In a statement on Tuesday, Redstone said, “This is my trust and my decision. I have picked those who are loyal to me and removed those who are not.”
Krutick served as senior vp for investor relations and corporate development at Warner Music Group, helping guide the record label’s IPO. Prior to that she served as a stock analyst for 15 years, including as a managing director of U.S. equity research at Citigroup, where she covered Viacom and other companies.
“I met Sumner in 1994 when I was an equity analyst covering the large-cap entertainment companies for Salomon Smith Barney,” Krutick said in a statement. “We had a close working relationship over a 10-year period as Sumner exuberantly shared his views on Viacom with investors from around the globe, and I have continued my long-time relationship with the Redstone family. I am humbled and honored to be selected to be a trustee, as well as a board member of National Amusements.”
Jankowski has been working at National Amusements since 1982 after being Redstone’s teaching assistant at Boston University for a “Law of the Entertainment Industry” course. Redstone’s daughter Shari Redstone is president of National Amusements.
“I am honored that Sumner has chosen me as a trustee and am convinced that he did so knowing that I would be loyal to him and would work to accomplish the objectives of the trust,” Jankowski said.
Ostheimer is also an attorney, who practiced at Legal Aid in the juvenile rights division and was a founding member of the associate board of the New York legal Assistance Group. She currently serves on the board of American Friends of Beit Issie Shapiro.
“I am honored to be named as a fourth generation director and look forward to contributing to the continued success of the company my family has built over the last 80 years,” Ostheimer said.
Dauman and Abrams have filed a lawsuit challenging their removal from the trust. Dauman has argued that Shari Redstone has been manipulating her father. The mogul, who turns 93 on Friday, has said he was in control and refuted Dauman’s claims that he was incapacitated as “opportunistic.”
A rep for Shari Redstone on Monday said: “It is absurd for anyone to accuse Shari of manipulating her father or controlling what goes on in his household. Sumner makes his own decisions regarding whom he wants to see both in his home and elsewhere, and he has his own team of independent advisors to counsel him on corporate and other matters.”
Moody’s Investors Service analyst Neil Begley said in a report that the change of trustees, assuming it is not overturned, “will lead to greater independence of governance of Viacom in our view.” He added: “However, if any change in leadership at Viacom occurs, the
impact on the company’s credit ratings will depend upon the company’s future financial policy and potential for improvement in operating
Viacom’s stock rose again in early trading. As of 10:35 a.m. ET, it was up 2.5 percent at $40.93.