Now that he's a free agent, what's next for Mel Karmazin? The former Viacom President/COO tells the New York Daily News he'll, "take a week off and start looking" for a CEO post at another media company. "I have had no discussions with anybody," Karmazin said
Unrest at the top of The Walt Disney Company has it topping the rumor mill, with the always aggressive New York Post reporting that Mel's handlers "are expected to reach out" to the Disney board about him potentially succeeding embattled CEO Michael Eisner. Roy Disney and Stan Gold-- who have loudly called for Eisner's resignation --wasted no time making that suggestion to Disney Chairman George Mitchell on Tuesday. Eisner's contract expires in two years.
Acknowledging that Karmazin was among those it might consider down the road, the Disney company responded with a statement that Eisner has its continuing confidence. "The board has complete confidence in the current management," Mitchell said. "On the strength of our recent results, we believe that confidence has been justified and will be further validated as our performance continues to improve."
The idea that Mel would make a move to buy Infinity from Viacom was doused in cold water today by his former boss. In an interview with CNBC, Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone said: "Our chances of selling Infinity are minimal. The margins are high, the cash flow's great."
In Tuesday's conference call with investors, Redstone had said Viacom would evaluate all of its assets, including radio. "There are no sacred cows," he said. The remark triggered speculation that Karmzin might lead an investor group to buy back the 187-station empire that he built from the ground up, before selling it to Group W/CBS and later merging with Viacom.