Viacom Shareholder Sues Over Sumner Redstone’s Compensation

Complaint says that company used nebulous goals in calculating executive compensation

Last Updated: August 21, 2012 @ 7:54 PM

Sumner Redstone makes way too much money — at least, according to one Viacom shareholder who's suing the company over the compensation given to executive chairman Redstone and two other Viacom executives.

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In a suit filed  in Delaware last week, Robert Freedman alleges that Redstone's compensation — along with that of president and CEO Philippe Dauman and COO Thomas Dooley — was inflated due to nebulous bonus criteria such as "vision and leadership" and "continuing to navigate economic challenges."  Freedman claims these criteria don't comply with the company's 2007 guidelines for executive compensation, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Freedman, who has been a shareholder since 2005, claims that big bucks were unfairly dispensed to the execs — the suit alleges that Redstone, Dauman and Dooley were overpaid by more than $36 million between 2008 and 2011.

Also read: Viacom Results Hurt by Weak U.S. Cable Advertising

According to the Times, Redstone took in $15 million in salary and bonuses during the fiscal year 2010, and was bumped up to $21 million last year. Dauman, meanwhile, received a $43 million haul last year, while Dooley drew compensation in the $34 million range.

The company's third-quarter earnings  were lower than expected this year, with Viacom taking in $523 million, down from $574 million a year earlier.

In a statement to the Times, Viacom said that Freedman's suit "is filled with inaccuracies … We are confident that Viacom’s compensation practices are fully compliant with the law, and consistent with our 2007 plan [for calculating executive pay.]”


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