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Sumner Redstone, the 92-year-old executive chairman of Viacom and CBS, has taken and passed several mental competency tests, one as recently as a month ago, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.
Health concerns surrounding Redstone has increased focus on Viacom’s leadership succession plans, with current CEO Philippe Dauman and Redstone’s daughter Shari Redstone both vying to take a major role in the company after the death of the founder. Redstone holds roughly 80 percent of the voting rights at Viacom.
According to the WSJ report, Redstone has suffered a number of ministrokes that have left him with restricted jaw movement, which has made speech difficult although not impossible. Redstone has been noticeably silent at Viacom’s earnings calls this year and he didn’t attend Viacom’s and CBS’ annual meetings.
Redstone was still mentally sharp and took a keen interest in the running of Viacom according to sources who spoke to the WSJ and he still communicates daily with top management. However, the report states that Redstone has taken several mental competency tests in recent months, with the latest having been taken one month ago when he altered his will following the end of his relationship with Sydney Holland.
According to a statement released by Redstone in May this year, control of his business interests in Viacom and CBS and the holding company National Amusements will pass to his children and grandchildren in the event of his death or if he is incapacitated. A seven-member trust would then administer the holdings via majority vote.
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