Lawyers for Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman and COO Tom Dooley sent letters to the company noting that moves by Sumner Redstone’s National Amusements could constitute “good cause” for them to resign under their employment contracts.
Dauman and Dooley said they do not believe a valid “good cause,” has occurred, but are reserving their rights.
National Amusements has moved to remove Dauman and other Viacom directors. The directors have challenged the moves in court, charging that they are invalid because the 93-year-old Redstone, who controls Viacom and CBS, is under the undue influence of his daughter Shari Redstone.
The Redstones and Dauman are battling for control of Viacom and Redstone’s media empire.
The letters, disclosed in SEC filings Monday, say that Dauman and Dooley are “highly engaged in overseeing Viacom’s operations and [are] committed to pursuing and executing Viacom’s strategic play for the duration of [their] employment agreements.” They add that the executives want to avoid waiving their rights under the agreement.
They note that June 16, when Redstone notified Viacom of his intention to remove the directors, could be when the executives had “good reason” to terminate the agreement, if it is upheld by the courts. The earliest date for an effective resignation would be August 15 — 31 days after Redstone’s removal order.
Resigning for “good reason” would likely bring the executives higher separation payments than resigning under other circumstances.