Viacom CEO resigns with $72m settlement

The CEO resigned after the Viacom board approved the settlement package, following a bitter battle lasting months

The Chief Executive Officer of US media behemoth Viacom has resigned with a settlement package of US$72m after a fraught battle, it has been reported.

Philippe Dauman, 62, stood down after the settlement package was agreed, following a drawn-out dispute with Viacom's controlling shareholder, Sumner Redstone, 93, amid allegations that the ageing billionaire owner is being controlled by his daughter, Shari Redstone.

The Viacom board voted on Thursday night to approve Dauman's settlement package, and publicly announced the deal on Saturday, CNN Money reports.

In July, Dauman 'reserved the right to resign' in a bid to protect potential severance pay, after Redstone sought to remove several board members, including Dauman, from National Amusements - the company that controls Redstone's major shareholdings in Viacom.

Dauman's contract was said to have contained a clause which states that he could ‘resign with good reason’ if there were changes to Viacom’s board.

In June, Dauman and Viacom director George Abrams filed legal papers that sought to have Redstone medically evaluated, after the pair were ousted from the Sumner Redstone trust.

The filing contended that Redstone was not mentally competent to remove them and was manipulated into doing so by his formerly-estranged daughter.

Dauman's settlement deal resolves a number of lawsuits and countersuits between the two sides.

Dauman remains non-executive chairman of Viacom until 13 September, and is due to present a plan to sell a small stake in Paramount Pictures, BBC Online reports.

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