Tom Freston and LeslieMoonves have been appointed co-presidents and co-chief operating officers ofViacom, effective immediately, following yesterday's (Jun 1) resignation of MelKarmazin.

Both Freston and Moonveswill continue with their current roles within the company and will jointlyoversee all Viacom operations as directed by Sumner Redstone, who remainschairman and chief executive officer and plans to step down within three years.

Freston, who has beenchairman and chief executive officer of Viacom's MTV Networks since 1987, willbecome responsible for motion picture operations at Paramount Pictures as wellas Showtime, BET, Paramount Parks and Simon & Schuster.

Moonves has been chairmanand chief executive officer of CBS since last year and will assumeresponsibility for operations at Paramount TV, Infinity Broadcasting and ViacomOutdoor.

The move is part of acorporate succession plan to instal the next generation of senior managementand Redstone will continue to work with the board of directors to identify hissuccessor and other candidates for senior positions.

Redstone and Karmazin havehad a history of squabbling since Viacom acquired CBS Corporation, whereKarmazin served as president and chief executive officer, in 2000.

"Viacom is poised to moveinto a new era of growth led by an innovative team of executives, beginningwith our new presidents and chief operating officers Tom Freston and LesMoonves," Redstone said in a statement.

"I have worked closely withboth Tom and Les for many years and there are no two finer executives in themedia industry' Obviously, Tom and Les are the two leading candidates to be thenext chief executive officer of Viacom."

He continued: "We very muchregret Mel's decision to resign and we wish him well. He has been instrumentalin Viacom's operating success since our merger with CBS and he leaves with anextraordinary track record of accomplishment.

"We appreciate that he hasagreed to stay on as a consultant for two months to help Tom and Les with thetransition to their new posts."

Karmazin stated: "After morethan 20 years with the company, for personal and professional reasons, I havedecided to leave Viacom and pursue other challenges.

"Viacom is performingexceptionally well with leadership positions in all of its businesses. Thecompany's very talented management team will ensure its continued success."