Viacom Dismisses Investor’s Concerns About Sumner Redstone’s Mental Capacity

Mario Gabelli, the company’s second-largest voting shareholder, demanded disclosure regarding executive chairman’s health

Sumner Redstone
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Viacom’s has responded to a request by its second-largest voting shareholder to release details about executive chairman Sumner Redstone’s mental competence.

“As has been widely and publicly disclosed, Mr. Redstone’s physicians have publicly attested that he is mentally capable, and this information is consistent with other medical and other information available to me,” William Schwartz, chairman of Viacom’s Governance and Nominating Committee, said in a statement

Mario Gabelli told Reuters Wednesday that he left a message for someone at Viacom on Tuesday, calling on them to disclose further details about the company chairman’s status, but had not yet heard back.

“Too many people are calling me and saying: ‘What’s really going on?’” Gabelli told Reuters. “It would be appropriate for a company trading on the New York Stock Exchange to basically make a statement with some kind of veracity … Is he or isn’t he in the position where he should be chairman emeritus or something?”

Redstone’s girlfriend Manuela Herzer filed a lawsuit last week seeking to take control of the 92-year-old’s medical decisions, calling him “vacant, expressionless and out of touch,” after she was removed as his “healthcare agent” on Oct. 12.

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman was named Redstone’s new “healthcare agent” on Oct. 16 and declared him “engaged and attentive” in court documents.

Joan E. Solsman contributed to this story.