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Viacom transition led by Dauman, Dooley

Viacom Inc.’s newest member of top management expects the company to announce some top execs of the new Paramount-Viacom soon.

In an interview Tuesday, executive VP Thomas Dooley said the so-called “transition team” will likely name some of the new company’s key managers very soon. Viacom named Dooley and general counsel Philippe Dauman to the new position of executive VP.

“The most important thing is to get the organization settled,” said Dooley, who will take charge of finance, corporate development and corporate relations. Dauman nabbed the title of chiefadministrative officer and responsibility for the law department and government affairs.

“Within a week or two we expect to make announcements of key operating and other staff executives. They will then be asked to come back with recommendations for their organizations about a month(later),” Dooley said. “Very soon from that I’d think we’d announce those.”

Dooley and Dauman will join chief exec Frank Biondi in overseeing the transition period for Viacom as it absorbs the businesses of Paramount Communications. The diversified cable programmer acquired majority control of the studio in a cash transaction on Friday.

Biondi will chair a group including Dauman and Dooley as well as Ronald Nelson, Paramount exec veepee and chief financial officer. The group will supervise the appointments of top officers and restructure business and staff units.

Dooley cited the presence of management from both Paramount and Viacom on the committee to ensure that all employees were fairly represented, but alluded to the potential for job losses, as many industry observers expected to result from the merger.

“At some point I think there will be some job displacement. Clearly there are a lot of functions that overlap in the corporate area and in TV syndication,” he said.

Biondi and Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone are facing opposition to their proposed merger with Blockbuster Entertainment. Many of the video chain’s shareholders are angry about the decline in the value of their shares since the deal was announced on Jan. 7.

Viacom is considered in need of Blockbuster’s $ 500 million annual cash flow to service the estimated $ 10.7 billion arising from the formation of the tripartite company.

Blockbuster vice chairman Steven Berrard will join Viacom’s transition team upon the completion of the vidchain’s merger.

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