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Philippe Dauman paves the way to leave Viacom as CEO if he’s ousted from the board

Sumner Redstone, left, with Philippe Dauman.
(Peter Kramer/Getty Images)

Philippe Dauman, the chief executive of Viacom Inc., is laying the groundwork to leave the company if Sumner Redstone’s attempt to oust him from the board is successful.

Dauman and Viacom Chief Operating Officer Tom Dooley have reserved their right to resign their positions for “good reason” if a Delaware court upholds Redstone’s actions, according to a Monday regulatory filing by Viacom.

It’s the latest move by Dauman in the battle for control of Viacom as the much watched dispute winds its way through courts.

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Letters from the two executives’ lawyers, included in the company’s filing, said their resignations would be effective on the later of two dates: Aug. 15, or a month after a final removal order is enterted. The letters are dated July 15.

Both executives intend to keep their positions if Viacom is able to block Redstone’s actions in court.

The 93-year-old Redstone, who is Viacom’s controlling shareholder, last month moved to boot Dauman and four other directors.

Redstone’s National Amusements Inc. went to court in Delaware — where Viacom is incorporated -- to get the changes affirmed, but Viacom is fighting the move. A hearing is scheduled for July 29.

Meanwhile, the company is awaiting a decision from a Massachusetts judge over the validity of Redstone’s removal of Dauman and a fellow Viacom director from the trust that will determine the future of the ailing mogul’s $40-billion media empire that includes Viacom and CBS.

If Dauman and Dooley resign for “good reason,” they stand to be paid handsomely. Dauman would receive a severance package worth more than $80 million, while Dooley would get more than $60 million, according to estimates from Bloomberg.

Dauman is still trying to lock down a deal to sell 49% of Viacom’s Paramount Pictures to China’s Dalian Wanda Group. Redstone is adamantly opposed to such a transaction.

National Amusements — the holding company through which Redstone controls Viacom -- on Friday voiced its opposition to a deal, saying it would complicate a larger transaction involving Viacom as a whole. Wall Street analysts have speculated that Restone would like to recombine Viacom and CBS.

ryan.faughdner@latimes.com

Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter for more entertainment business coverage: @rfaughnder


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