USA: The Sumner Redstone corporate governance saga

Sumner Redstone

A spectacular lawsuit begins in the USA in October: A court in Delaware must decide whether to disempower the 95-year-old major shareholder of the media group CBS, Sumner Redstone – and thus allow the action of its own management. Background: The patriarch is pushing for a merger of the two media groups Viacom and CBS, in which he and his 64-year-old daughter Shari each hold 80 percent. But CBS boss Leslie Moonves defends himself against the plan – and points out that he is not solely committed to the major shareholder.

Committed to all shareholders – or to the company?

As CEO and Chairman, he must”keep an eye on what is best for all shareholders – not just for one,” says Moonves. The process thus becomes a highlight on the corporate governance system in Anglo-Saxon countries, where the welfare of the company – unlike in Germany – is not the primary decision-making criterion for those responsible. But this raises the question: What should a CEO be guided by if there are conflicting shareholder interests? The upcoming process in Delaware could provide an interesting answer to this question.