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New Viacom Role Seen for Shari Redstone

June 09, 2005|Sallie Hofmeister | Times Staff Writer

Shari Redstone, the 51-year-old daughter of media mogul Sumner Redstone, is expected to be named to the expanded role of vice chairman of Viacom Inc., the entertainment conglomerate her father leads, according to sources close to the company.

Shari Redstone currently runs the family-controlled Dedham, Mass.-based theater chain, National Amusements Inc., that controls Viacom via its 75% ownership of the company's voting stock. In recent years, she has been taking a more active role on Viacom's board.

Her father has said she would never have an operating role at New York-based Viacom. However, upon his death, she is expected to be made chairman and become the controlling shareholder of the company. Sumner Redstone turned 82 last month.

Sources said Shari Redstone's new position, first reported in Variety, could coincide with a plan, expected to gain board approval later this month, to split Viacom into two separate publicly traded companies.

Under the proposed split, co-President Tom Freston will take charge of Viacom's fast-growing cable assets, which include MTV and Nickelodeon.

Freston's counterpart, co-President Leslie Moonves, will head the Viacom operations that include the CBS network as well as its TV and radio stations.

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