New Viacom CEO strengthens bond with Shearman

The former general counsel of Viacom has been appointed its new CEO yesterday after leaving in 2000 to set up a private equity fund.

Philippe Dauman, who was a partner at Shearman & Sterling before going in-house at Viacom, took up the top job after Tom Freston announced his resignation.

Shearman will hope Dauman’s appointment will re-affirm its relationship with Viacom. The firm acted on Viacom’s acquisition of DreamWorks for $1.6BN (£846M) last February.

“We’ve had a very close relationship with Viacom since 1987,” said Creighton Condon, Viacom’s client partner at Shearman in New York, “and we expect this to continue going forward.”

Dauman, who was general counsel from 1993 to 1998, came in-house after striking up a relationship as a Shearman partner with Viacom and CBS chairman Sumner Redstone over 20 years ago.

Dauman rose through the ranks at Shearman, making partner at 33, to become Redstone’s lead external advisor when he wrested control of Viacom in 1987, at which point Redstone invited him onboard the Viacom behemoth.

When Viacom merged with CBS in 2000, Dauman was pushed out and set up a private equity house with Thomas Dooley, who also becomes Viacom’s new chief administrative officer today.

In a press conference, Dauman said that he would not be radically altering the strategy of the world’s second largest media conglomerate but that he would be alert to the possibility of snapping up new, cutting-edge companies.