Stability was short-lived at beleaguered Viacom as the company said Wednesday that interim CEO Tom Dooley will depart on November 15 and that it was slashing its dividend in half, freeing up some $300 million in cash.
“While this was a difficult decision for me, I have great admiration for our new board and I feel that they will be best able to execute on their vision for the company in the hands of a new president and CEO,” Dooley said in a prepared statement. “I am certain that the board will make the most of the company’s extraordinary potential.”
Who will replace Dooley is still a matter of speculation.
The company also officially said it was no longer seeking to sell a minority stake in Paramount Pictures, something that had been a priority under former CEO Philippe Dauman, who departed earlier this month after losing a prolonged fight with Shari Redstone, daughter of Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone.
“While there is more work to do, the actions announced today are an important first step towards realizing the value of Viacom’s exceptional assets and positioning the company for the future,” Ms. Redstone said in a statement.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Dooley’s affiliation with Viacom’s old guard made it too hard for him to be the change agent the corporation needs after seeing the share price for its Class B shares drop 55% in the last two years. Ratings at Viacom’s cable networks — including Comedy Central, MTV, Viacom, Nickelodeon and more — also have dropped off significantly.
READ MORE: The Wall Street Journal, Variety