ViacomCBS's Sumner Redstone dies at age of 97

Media mogul led Viacom as executive chairman of board for almost 30 years.

Redstone: US media mogul (picture: Getty Images/Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
Redstone: US media mogul (picture: Getty Images/Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

Sumner Redstone, chairman and chief executive of ViacomCBS owner National Amusements, has died.

The media mogul, who was 97, led Viacom as executive chairman of the board for almost 30 years after National Amusements' acquisition of a controlling stake in the business in 1987.

He was also chief executive of Viacom, which owns channels including MTV, Comedy Central and Channel 5, between 1996 and 2005. The media company merged with CBS in 2000.

When the two companies were separated in 2005, Redstone served as executive chairman of the boards of CBS and Viacom. He became chairman Emeritus for both companies in 2016.

Redstone became well known for turning what was his father's drive-in cinema business into a global media company, which includes Paramount Pictures.

Bob Bakish, president and chief executive of ViacomCBS, said: "Sumner Redstone was a brilliant visionary, operator and dealmaker, who single-handedly transformed a family-owned drive-in theater company into a global media portfolio.

"He was a force of nature and fierce competitor, who leaves behind a profound legacy in both business and philanthropy.

"ViacomCBS will remember Sumner for his unparalleled passion to win, his endless intellectual curiosity, and his complete dedication to the company. We extend our deepest sympathies to the Redstone family today."

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