Viacom CEO Dauman Reserves Right to Resign With His Payout

Viacom Inc. Chief Executive Officer Philippe Dauman, while maintaining his battle to keep his job, told the company he reserves the right to collect his golden-parachute payout if a court determines he must go.

Lawyers for Dauman and Chief Operating Officer Tom Dooley said the two executives retain the right to resign for good reason, under the terms of their contracts, within 31 days if a legal order confirms the validity of controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone’s move to shake up the board.

Dauman could get a severance benefit of almost $83 million from Viacom, according to Bloomberg Pay Index calculations last month. Dooley would be due about $63 million.

“The letters note that Messrs. Dauman and Dooley are highly engaged in overseeing Viacom’s operations and are committed to pursuing and executing Viacom’s strategic plan for the duration of their respective employment agreements,” Viacom said in the filing.

Viacom is locked in a three-state legal battle for control of the company that pits Dauman against his former mentor Redstone. Redstone, 93, is trying to remove Dauman and George Abrams, another former confidante, from a family trust that will one day oversee his affairs. He’s also sought to eject them from the board of his National Amusements Inc. holding company and from their roles at Viacom, which also owns MTV and Comedy Central.

Dauman contends Redstone is no longer mentally competent to make such decisions and alleges he’s being improperly influenced by his daughter Shari. Dauman is suing in Massachusetts, where the Redstone trust was executed, and fighting him in Viacom’s corporate domicile of Delaware. Redstone is seeking to have the Massachusetts litigation take place in California, where he lives.

Redstone controls almost 80 percent of the voting stock at Viacom and has a similar stake in CBS Corp.

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