Les Moonves
By David Shankbone (David Shankbone) [CC BY 3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

Les Moonves Resigns From CBS

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NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) — The CBS Corporation on Monday announced that embattled Chairman and CEO Les Moonves would depart from his roles at the company, effective immediately, bringing an end to the long tenure of one of the most powerful figures in Hollywood.

As had been previously rumored, CBS Chief Operating Officer Joseph Ianniello has been appointed to serve as President and Acting CEO while the Board conducts a search for a permanent successor.

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.

However, according to a corporate filing, Moonves will remain with the company, at least for a while, serving as an unpaid advisor to the network as part of his termination agreement.

As well, a prospective $120 million payout stipulated under Moonves contract with CBS will be placed in a trust pending the results of an ongoing investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against him, according to an 8-K filing with the SEC on Monday.

CBS also pledged to make a donation of $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’s ongoing independent investigation led by Covington & Burling and Debevoise & Plimpton.

In addition, CBS announced it will shake up its Board of Directors, with five current independent directors and one National Amusements, Inc. director stepping down to make way for six new independent directors. The new Board will be comprised of 11 independent directors and 2 NAI-affiliated directors. National Amusements is CBS’s parent entity, holding about 80% of Viacom’s common stock.

Moonves was the latest major media figure to be pushed out in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct. Moonves, who had been a vocal supporter of the #MeToo movement, was himself the subject of accusations of sexual misconduct, first raised publicly in an article in July but the New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow.

In the article, six women accused Moonves of sexual harassment and intimidation, and dozens of other women at CBS described abuse at the hands of the media mogul. Following the publication of the article, CBS’s board of directors to launch an independent investigation of Moonves, which has yet to be completed.

On Sunday, the New Yorker published a second article detailing the accusations against Moonves, including allegations that he forced women to perform oral sex and retaliated when his advaces were spurned. Moonves acknowledged to having relations with three of the women but said the interactions were consensual.

Moonves announced his resignation shortly after the publishing of the second New Yorker article. Shortly after resigning as CEO of CBS, Moonves released a statement denying all of the sexual misconduct allegations that have been leveled against him.

Moonves joined CBS in 1995 and helped to transform the broadcaster from an also-ran network into a ratings powerhouse. When the television season ended in May, CBS marked its tenth year as the most watched television network.

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