Leslie Moonves has departed as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of CBS Corporation effective immediately following a new report alleging sexual misconduct against six additional women. Chief Operating Officer Joseph Ianniello will serve as President and Acting CEO while the Board conducts a search for a permanent successor. Mr. Ianniello, who joined the Company in 2005, has been COO of CBS since June 2013. The Chairman position will remain open pending the appointment of a permanent CEO.
The announcement ends his 20-year tenure atop one of the country’s most important media empires. It also concludes a months-long battle for control of CBS between Moonves and the company’s controlling shareholder, Shari Redstone. The CBS board is being reshaped, with six new directors, and Redstone is repeating her vow to consider new bids from potential buyers.
Moonves and CBS will donate $20 million to one or more organizations that the support the #MeToo movement and equality for women in the workplace. The donation has been deducted from any severance benefits that may be due Moonves following the Board’s ongoing independent investigation led by Covington & Burling and Debevoise & Plimpton. Moonves will not receive any severance benefits 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.