Viacom’s Sumner Redstone silent on exit of MTV Networks chief Judy McGrath
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Viacom Chief Executive Phillipe Dauman was very generous in his praise of MTV Networks Chairman and Chief Executive Judy McGrath, who is exiting the company after 26 years of service, saying she was the ‘creative heart and inspiring soul of MTV Networks.’
Staying quiet about McGrath’s departure however was Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone. While McGrath technically did not report to Redstone, she did operate the most important unit of his media company for the last seven years and before that headed MTV, the network for which Viacom is best known, for about a decade. McGrath has been associated with MTV since 1981-- four years before Viacom bought it -- and, along with her former boss Tom Freston, was instrumental in making the channel the leader in pop culture and a cash cow for her bosses.
Perhaps Redstone did not want to step on his CEO Dauman’s toes, but would a sentence acknowledging McGrath’s role at building the MTV empire have really been out of the ordinary? When Don Hewitt, the legendary creator of CBS’ ‘60 Minutes’ finally eased into retirement, CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves saluted his service publicly even though Hewitt reported to the then-president of CBS News, Andrew Heyward.
Asked about the lack of a Redstone statement regarding McGrath’s long service to his company, a Viacom spokesman said, ‘Philippe speaks for all of us in his deserving praise for Judy and all she has accomplished.’
-- Joe Flint