National Amusements, Inc., the holding company through which Sumner Redstone owns nearly 80% of Viacom Inc.'s voting shares, removed five members from the Viacom board and elected five new members in their place. The announcement was made through communications consulting firm Brunswick Group. Viacom board members have voiced publicly their intent to challenge any removals in court. National Amusements, according to a news release, said it filed papers in a Delaware court to affirm the validity of the removals. The removed board members are George Abrams and Philippe Dauman, who were recently removed from the National Amusements trust, as well as Blythe McGarvie, Frederic Salerno and Williams Schwartz. The people taking their place have no affiliation with National Amusements, Viacom or the Redstone family trust, according to the news release. The new board members will be Kenneth Lerer, Thomas May, Judith McHale, Ronald Nelson and Nicole Seligman. The other six members of the board, which include Sumner Redstone and his daughter Shari Redstone, will remain on the board. "It will be the responsibility of the newly-constituted board to evaluate the current management team and take whatever steps it deems appropriate to ensure Viacom has in place strong, independent and effective leadership," according to the release. A Viacom spokesperson didn't immediately return request for comment.
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