Viacom bolsters boards as split nears

Conglom draws seven independent directors

Viacom, ahead of its split, named seven independent directors to the boards of two new public companies.

The split is still anticipated by year’s end. But with time short, it’s possible the companies may postpone their road show — a series of meetings with investors — until early January.

Former Viacom vice chairman Thomas Dooley; Ellen Futter, president of the American Museum of Natural History; and Robert Kraft of the Kraft Group, which owns the New England Patriots, will join the board of the “new” Viacom, to be headed by Tom Freston.

At CBS Corp., which will be run by Leslie Moonves, new directors include Charles Gifford, chairman emeritus of Bank of America; Bruce Gordon, prexy-chief exec of the NAACP; Ann Reese, financier and exec director of Gotham nonprofit Center for Adoption Policy; and Judith Sprieser, co-founder and former CEO of tech group Transora.

Dooley is co-chairman-CEO of private equity firm DND Capital Partners, founded in 2000 with Philippe Dauman when the duo left Viacom after it merged with CBS.

The new companies will each “have strong independent boards that can work closely with Shari and me, and with Leslie Moonves and Tom Freston and their respective management teams, to set the right strategic courses for both companies,” Viacom chairman-CEO Sumner Redstone said Tuesday.

The new Viacom’s board also includes Freston, Dauman, George Abrams, Alan Greenberg, Charles Phillips Jr., Frederic Salerno, William Schwartz, Redstone and Viacom vice chairman Shari Redstone.

CBS directors include Moonves, David Andelman, Joseph Califano Jr., William Cohen, Dauman, Robert Walter and the two Redstones.

Viacom announced plans earlier this year to split into two companies in order to separate its faster-growing assets like MTV from slower-growth businesses like broadcast TV and radio.

The new Viacom holds MTV Networks (MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, Comedy Central, CMT: Country Music Television, Spike TV, TV Land and international nets), BET, Paramount Pictures, Paramount Home Entertainment and Famous Music.

CBS Corp. houses CBS Television Network, UPN, Infinity Broadcasting, Viacom Outdoor, Viacom TV stations, Paramount Television, King World, Simon & Schuster, Showtime and Paramount Parks.

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