Sure, Dick Parsons handily trumps Sumner Redstone on the Vanity Fair New Establishment List, but — and this is the true test of media Master-of-the-Universe mogul hood — whose magic elixir is mas macho? Forget about who sports the best jet: Who has the best brew?
“As the years tick by, Sumner Redstone just gets more optimistic. Earlier this year the 84-year-old said he planned to live another 50 years; two years ago he was predicting another 20.
”His age has been in the spotlight lately because of the recent public spat with his daughter over his succession plans, but the controller of Viacom and CBS has lately been getting a bit of help in the form of a little-known superjuice called MonaVie. ‘It’s a miracle drug,’ he told Fortune. ‘I feel great.’
Contrast that with Parsons who, according to Geoffrey Gray of New York’s Intelligencer:
”For a long time, he kept quiet about his vineyard. He didn’t want people to know he was taking the company jet to Tuscany for tastings (he was, but only because CEO insurance usually prevents an exec from flying anything else). Now, Parsons doesn’t mind talking about his Brunello. ‘It’s elegant, it’s got character, it’s got complexity, and it’s got terroir. I know some people now say terroir is bullsh-t, it doesn’t exist. That’s not true in my judgment.” Or his new Super Tuscan. Lorenzo & Isabelle, he calls it, after his parents. ‘The blend is Cab-Franc, Sangiovese, and a little touch of Petit Verdot-for the nose,’ he says with a sniff. ”
Counterpoint: Parsons. The tiebreaker? Confidence. Which mogul is more confident in his brew? While Redstone, according to Arrango’s article, doesn’t invest in MonaVie, ”because it would present a conflict of interest to recommend it to friends,” Parsons doesn’t have such qualms (nor do his shareholders). Parsons wined and dined Carl Icahn during the infamous Time Warner proxy fight. From Joe Nocera’s NYTimes article (subscription req’d):
”It was around 8:45 when Mr. Parsons got up to leave our dinner. Though already late, he seemed a little reluctant to leave. ‘We haven’t talked enough about wine,’ he said. ‘Do you know what I like about that?’ he asked, pointing to the empty Brunello bottle on the table. ‘Some time ago, those were grapes. We picked them, we fermented them, we bottled them. There is something to show for your effort. We have a product.”’
Winner: Dick Parsons.