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Viacom board scraps pay for Sumner Redstone

Viacom board scraps pay for Sumner Redstone
Sumner Redstone, shown in 2013, will no longer be paid an annual salary by Viacom Inc. (Matt Sayles / Invision/Associated Press)

Viacom's board on Wednesday decided to eliminate one of the last corporate perks for its ailing founder, Sumner Redstone.

Going forward, the media mogul who turns 93 next week, will not be paid an annual salary, according to a person familiar with the situation. Redstone was paid a $2-million salary for the 2015 fiscal year, according to a regulatory filing.

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The board's move comes nearly two weeks after Redstone attempted to answer questions during an 18-minute deposition for his mental-competency trial. A transcript of the session, conducted at Redstone's Beverly Park mansion, showed that the mogul appeared to have trouble answering basic questions, such as his given name: Sumner Murray Rothstein.

Redstone did, however, use salty language to blast his former companion, Manuela Herzer, who brought the civil suit leading to the deposition.

Last week, a judge in Los Angeles stopped short of declaring Redstone mentally competent. But Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David J. Cowan found that Redstone was in command of his faculties enough to know who he wanted in charge of his healthcare -- his daughter, Shari Redstone.

Wednesday's move came during Viacom's board meeting, which also included a vote to pay Viacom shareholders a 40-cent quarterly dividend.

Redstone's compensation package already had been slashed to reflect his lack of involvement in the day-to-day affairs of his media company. He hasn't participated in a corporate event for 18 months, when he made brief comments to open a Viacom earnings call.

For example, in fiscal 2014, Redstone received $13.2 million in compensation, including a $10-million cash bonus. In fiscal 2013, he received a compensation package valued at $36.2 million, including changes in the value of his pension.

But last year, his total compensation consisted almost entirely of his $2-million salary, the filing said.

Redstone, in court papers, acknowledged that he had given Herzer and another former girlfriend, Sydney Holland, approximately $150 million over a five-year period. The court filings contained salacious details about Redstone's interest in sex even as his health declined.

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