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Viacom said it has extended the employment contract of its chief operating officer, Thomas Dooley, through the end of 2018, putting aside recent speculation about the near-term future of the executive, who is essentially the company’s second-in-command.

Dooley’s “continued leadership by my side will be a key factor in Viacom’s success in the years ahead,” said Philippe Dauman, Viacom’s executive chairman and chief executive officer, in a prepared statement issued Thursday  Viacom’s board of directors elected Dauman as executive chairman last month after Sumner Redstone, who controls Viacom through his family’s movie-exhibition company, National Amusements, stepped down.

Dauman cited Dooley’s work in leading the creation of new data-focused advertising products, which Viacom is readying for the coming upfront market, when U.S. TV companies hope to sell the bulk of their ad inventory for the coming programming season.

Dooley, who has been working at Viacom for more than 30 years, became COO in 2010 and has served on Viacom’s board since 2006. He was named chief administrative officer in 2006, before becoming COO, and was also given the title of CFO in 2007. Dooley has also acted as deputy chairman of the company’s predecessor, Viacom Inc., and served as a member of the board of that company from 1996 to 2000. He first joined Viacom in 1980.