September 10, 2018
Joseph Ianniello, current COO at CBS Corp., is now acting CEO following the Sept. 9 departure of beleaguered boss Les Moonves in the aftermath of additional accusations of inappropriate behavior in the workplace. Moonves had been the head of CBS for 24 years.
Ianniello, who joined CBS in 2005, has been COO since June 2013. The chairman position will remain open pending the appointment of a permanent CEO.
Moonves and CBS will donate $20 million to one or more organizations that support the #MeToo movement and equality for women in the workplace. The donation, which will be made immediately, has been deducted from any severance benefits that may be due Moonves following the board of directors’ ongoing independent investigation.
Moonves will not receive any severance benefits (rumored to be around $120 million) at this time (other than certain fully accrued and vested compensation and benefits); any payments to be made in the future will depend upon the results of the independent investigation and subsequent board evaluation.
Moonves’ high-profile exit was in part triggered by a follow-up story in The New Yorker by Ronan Farrow that detailed additional accusations from six women alleging sexual misconduct by Moonves over a 20-year period.
In a statement late Sunday night, Moonves said “untrue allegations from decades ago” are not consistent with “who I am.” Moonves said he was “deeply saddened” to be leaving the company and wished nothing but the best for the organization.
CBS also announced a settlement with corporate parent National Amusements (and Viacom), which includes dismissing their pending litigation and previous corporate bylaw amendments.
In addition, five current independent directors and one National Amusements-affiliated director have stepped down from the board, and six new independent directors have been elected. The new board will be comprised of 11 independent directors and 2 NAI-affiliated directors.