Sumner Redstone Names Replacements For Family Trust And National Amusements Board

Associated Press

Sumner Redstone has picked people to replace Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman and board member George Abrams on the board of his family trust, and his privately held theater chain National Amusements.

The trust seats, which are reserved for non-family members, would go to National Amusements General Counsel Tad Jankowski and former media analyst Jill Krutick. Krutick would also join the National Amusements board, along with Redstone’s granddaughter Kimberlee Ostheimer.

“This is my trust and my decision,” Redstone said in a statement. “I have picked those who are loyal to me and removed those who are not.”

The appointments could be important. The seven-member family trust will control Redstone’s 80% stake in National Amusements when he passes or becomes incapacitated. And the theater chain holds 80% of the voting shares in Viacom and in CBS.

Dauman and Abrams asked a Massachusetts court on Monday to nullify Sumner Redstone’s move to replace them.  The complaint says that the Viacom and CBS Chairman Emeritus is “clearly being manipulated by his daughter, Shari.” The effort to oust them from the family trust represents “an unlawful corporate takeover, and if effectuated, could have far-reaching consequences for thousands of shareholders and employees of Viacom.”

Redstone’s team countered by asking the Los Angeles County Superior Court to confirm “the validity of his actions” on Friday.

Contrary to Dauman and Abrams’ claims, “Mr. Redstone has been clear and unequivocal in his desire to remove Philippe Dauman and George Abrams as trustees,” says Redstone lawyer Robert Klieger.

Krutick met Redstone in 1994 when she covered Viacom as an analyst at Salomon Smith Barney.

“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,” she says.

Jankowski joined National Amusements in 1982. His relationship with Redstone predates that to his time at Boston University School of Law when he became a teaching assistant for the theater chain owner’s “Law of the Entertainment Industry” course.

Ostheimer, who’s also a lawyer, is 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, an organization that helps the disabled.

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