Viacom cut pay for Redstone, CEO Dauman in 2015

By Ross KerberReuters

Media giant Viacom Inc said on Wednesday it cut the compensation of its top two executives, Executive Chairman Sumner Redstone and Chief Executive Philippe Dauman, as the company faced business pressures and a sharp drop in its share price.

Shares of Viacom Inc fell 44 percent to $43.15 in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, and closed Wednesday at $40.67.

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In a statement, Viacom said for its fiscal year ended Sept. 30 Redstone's annual compensation declined 85 percent to $2 million as he became ineligible to receive a bonus, which was $10 million in the prior fiscal year.

It also said that the bonus paid to its chief executive Philippe Dauman declined 30 percent to $14 million in fiscal 2015, while his contractually provided salary of $4 million and an annual equity award worth $18.9 million were not much changed from the prior year.

Viacom, whose networks include Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon, has taken much criticism in recent years over its high executive pay even as it struggled with slipping ratings while more consumers ditched pricey cable television subscriptions.

Meanwhile, questions about Redstone's health have led to shareholder concerns about his fitness to oversee the company.

Viacom did not explain the reason for the change in Dauman's bonus in its statement and said it would give more details in its forthcoming proxy statement, expected this week. (Reporting by Ross Kerber; editing by Chris Reese, Phil Berlowitz and Bernard Orr)