Exec steps down to avoid talk of personal difficulties

Phyllis Redstone, the estranged wife of Viacom Chairman and CEO Sumner Redstone, will step down as a director of Viacom’s parent company, National Amusements, lawyers for the divorcing couple said in a statement Tuesday.

Mrs. Redstone has “tendered her resignation as a director to avoid any suggestion that their personal difficulties might interfere with the operation of the family’s business endeavors,” said George Abrams, attorney for Sumner Redstone, and Irving Helman and Augustus Wagner, Jr., attorneys for Phyllis Redstone, in a joint statement.

“Mrs. Redstone has every confidence in Sumner Redstone’s business acumen and noted that the continued success of National Amusements is in the best interest of all concerned,” the statement said.

Through their lawyers, the Redstones denied news reports that Mrs. Redstone has asked for a $3 billion settlement — or about half of her husband’s net worth.

No demands

“Contrary to published reports, both parties unequivocally state that no demands have been made and no offers have been extended in connection with the financial aspects of this divorce case,” the statement continued. “The parties are engaging in an exchange of information and neither party will be making any further comments on this matter.”

News surfaced about 10 days ago that Phyllis Redstone had filed to divorce her husband of 50 years, recently photographed in Paris with his girlfriend Christine Peters. It was Mrs. Redstone’s third divorce filing.

A previous statement by Viacom assured investors that the proceedings would have no affect on the manangement or control of Viacom, which recently agreed to a $32 billion merger with CBS.

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