Sumner M. Redstone is chairman and chief executive officer of Viacom Inc.
He has been chairman of the board since June 1987, when National Amusements Inc., of Dedham, MA acquired a controlling interest in the New York
City-based Viacom. Redstone had served as president and CEO of National since 1967 and became its chairman in 1986.
Viacom today is one of the fastest-growing media companies in the world with core assets in nearly every segment of the communications industry. In July of 1994, Viacom completed its acquisition of Paramount Communications Inc., and two months later acquired Blockbuster Entertainment Corporation of Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Viacom’s operations include Blockbuster Music, Blockbuster Video, MTV Networks, Paramount Parks, Paramount Pictures, Paramount Television, Showtime Networks, Simon and Schuster and Viacom Interactive Media as well as radio and television stations and movie screens in 11 countries. Viacom also has a majority interest in the Spelling Entertainment Group. National Amusements, Viacom’s parent, owns and operates nearly 1000 movie screens in the U.S. and U.K.
Throughout his career, Redstone has played an important role in the entertainment and communications industries. He has served as chairman of the board of the National Association of Theatre Owners and is a member of that organization’s executive committee. He also serves on the board of the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences Foundation.
Redstone takes great pride in teaching at the college level. He is affiliated as a visiting professor with Harvard Law School and Brandeis University and has lectured at both institutions as recently as the autumn of 1994. He also taught at The University of San Francisco when he was a law clerk in the Court of Appeals, and, in 1982, he joined the faculty of Boston University Law School where he taught courses in entertainment law. In May of 1994, Redstone received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Boston University.
In the world of the arts, in which he has been extremely active over the years, Redstone, during the Carter Administration, was appointed a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee of The Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and, in 1994, was appointed a director of The Kennedy Presidential Library Foundation. He has also served as a judge on the Foundation’s select committee to award the annual John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.
Redstone began his career as law secretary to the U.S. Court of Appeals and also served as special assistant to the U.S. Attorney General. Subsequently, he was a partner in the law firm of Ford, Bergson, Adams, Borkland and Redstone, in Washington, D.C. He joined National Amusements in 1954, which he later organized into the successful company it is today. The company is among the
top 10 largest motion picture circuits in the United States.
During World War II, Redstone served in Military Intelligence and was one of a small group of Harvard students selected by the then associate professor, Edwin Reischauer (later Ambassador to Japan) to join a special intelligence group whose mission was to break Japan’s high level military and diplomatic codes. In association with these activities, Redstone received two commendations
from the Military Intelligence Division and is also the holder of the Army Commendation Award.
Redstone is a graduate of Boston Latin School, where he was first in his class, and in 1944, after two and one-half years at Harvard College, he was awarded a degree by Harvard University’s Special Board of Overseers. He received his law degree from the Harvard University School of Law in 1947.