Saturday, July 20, 2019

Saturday Long Read - Shari Redstone

I’ve previously blogged in this space about Shari Redstone and her conflicts with the CBS board.  Last week, New York Magazine published this fascinating article about Shari Redstone’s corporate battles and her relationship with her father, Sumner Redstone.  Shari Redstone refused to participate and thus much of it appears to have been drawn from other sources, but it was all new to me, and the anecdotes make for a fascinating – and eyebrow raising – read.  Here’s a taste:

In retrospect, it took some chutzpah for Moonves to take Redstone to court, when as reporting would later show, he was busily covering up the sexual-assault allegations against him. Less than six months later, he was gone. So were Gifford and most of the other elder men on the board who’d backed Moonves. .... CBS and Viacom are once again talking about merging, though Redstone cannot be officially involved until negotiations are further along. If the merger goes through, as it well may this summer, she will have cemented her control of a $30 billion media kingdom.

And Moonves’s stunning downfall has given Redstone, for all her wealth, something she’s never had before: a narrative that justifies her own rise. The #MeToo movement has hardly had a richer target than CBS, with its board of mostly old white men who protected Moonves and shrugged off the company’s treatment of women. ...The new board of CBS is, like Viacom’s, majority female for the first time — and increasingly stacked with her allies. Women are being put in charge and on the air at CBS. And the face of the family controlling these companies was once the patriarch whose embarrasing sexual exploits were aired in court; now it’s his daughter.

As the excerpt indicates, the main theme of the article is that Shari Redstone - though an unlikely candidate for feminist hero - has battled a cadre of older men, many of whom disparaged or dismissed her apparently on the basis of gender, and has come out on top.  She’s now firmly in control of both CBS and Viacom, and likely will fulfill her ambition to combine the two companies.   A great piece to mull over.

Ann Lipton | Permalink


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