SEVERE WX : High Wind Warning - Wind Advisory View Alerts

CBS reportedly negotiating exit for CEO Les Moonves

Les Moonves' time as the head of CBS appears to be coming to an end.CNBC, citing anonymous sources, ...

Posted: Sep 6, 2018 3:48 PM
Updated: Sep 6, 2018 3:48 PM

Les Moonves' time as the head of CBS appears to be coming to an end.

CNBC, citing anonymous sources, reported Thursday that the CBS board is "deep in talks" with the chief executive that would result in him leaving the company.

Moonves has also told some confidants about the exit talks, a friend who spoke with him about it told CNN.

It is unclear if he is trying to fight the board. Moonves did not respond to a request for comment. Spokespeople for the CBS board and the company declined to comment on the reports.

Moonves is a legendary broadcasting executive and one of the most prominent CEO's in the country. This is not the way he wanted to go. Last year he extended his contract through 2021.

But two developments this year have rewritten the script of his career.

The first development was a dispute over the future of CBS. Moonves and most members of the CBS board have been locked in an ugly legal battle for months with Shari Redstone, who has a controlling stake in CBS and its corporate cousin Viacom.

The second development was the bombshell report in The New Yorker detailed allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct against Moonves. One month ago the CBS board hired outside counsel to investigate those claims. The investigation is ongoing.

Moonves has acknowledged that he "may have made some women uncomfortable," calling those moments "mistakes." He also insisted that he respected women and that he "abided by the principle that 'no' means 'no,' and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone's career."

In the meantime, Moonves has been keeping a relatively low profile, inside and outside CBS. But he was seen at Senator John McCain's funeral service in Washington last Saturday.

The misconduct claims sparked speculation in the TV business that Moonves might reach a hefty financial settlement and step down from CBS.

That's what appears to be in the works now.

The Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday night that CBS board members were talking about his potential exit. Discussions have focused on the size of a severance package, and on whether Moonves would move to a producer role, the Times reported.

Under the terms of his contract, Moonves may be owed a $180 million severance package. But if he is removed "for cause," relating to the harassment allegations, such an eye-popping severance package would not be in play.

CNBC reported that the board "is offering a roughly $100 million exit package made up almost entirely of CBS stock." Furthermore, "the board also wants the right to claw back some of the compensation if it's determined that sexual harassment allegations against Moonves are confirmed."

These exit talks are happening in secret, and the details could not be immediately confirmed.

At the same time -- whether linked or not -- there are talks happening about the future of CBS.

Redstone thought about bringing CBS and Viacom back together as one company earlier this year. But Moonves and CBS resisted the idea in part because Redstone wanted her favored executive, Viacom CEO Bob Bakish, to take a prominent position at the new company. Moonves wanted his own team in charge.

CBS took Redstone and her family's holding company, National Amusements, Inc., to court in May over the spat. A trial date is set for October.

But now there are settlement talks underway on that front as well, according to multiple reports on Wednesday.

CNBC's report suggested that Moonves' team could get a consolation prize if a settlement is reached. The network reported that Moonves' right hand man Joe Ianniello, the COO of CBS, could replace Moonves as interim CEO.

Ianniello has widely been seen as the top choice to succeed Moonves. When talks to merge CBS with Viacom were on the table earlier this year, Team Moonves pushed for Ianniello to be No. 2.

Wall Street analysts prefer Ianniello, too. In the days after the Moonves allegations first came out, Doug Creutz, a senior research analyst at Cowen, called the Ianniello choice the "least bad solution" to the Moonves problem.

CBS stock was up about 4% in trading early Thursday afternoon.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 156287

Reported Deaths: 2252
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah31935542
Washington21311212
Marion18541285
Clackamas13426183
Lane10325129
Jackson8489114
Umatilla767882
Deschutes597561
Yamhill379168
Linn360157
Malheur335358
Polk307343
Klamath279855
Douglas252755
Josephine236553
Benton234817
Jefferson196628
Coos152420
Union129519
Columbia127421
Wasco122126
Lincoln113620
Hood River106929
Morrow104914
Clatsop7776
Crook77618
Baker6639
Curry4296
Tillamook4212
Lake3786
Harney2776
Grant2251
Wallowa1425
Gilliam541
Sherman530
Wheeler221
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3582320

Reported Deaths: 53083
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles119601721676
Riverside2904983849
San Bernardino2870552959
Orange2617983966
San Diego2613533342
Santa Clara1110761798
Kern103756915
Fresno957851451
Sacramento937901498
Alameda809501271
Ventura77952870
San Joaquin671231150
Contra Costa62931695
Stanislaus56433953
Tulare48114768
Monterey42335329
San Mateo39148521
San Francisco34387422
Santa Barbara32147420
Solano30216165
Merced29264407
Sonoma28261301
Imperial26926638
Kings22091220
Placer19911232
San Luis Obispo19751238
Madera15523214
Santa Cruz14736183
Marin13285198
Yolo12867185
Shasta11054179
Butte11007167
El Dorado9195100
Napa908072
Sutter889998
Yuba577638
San Benito577061
Lassen562324
Tehama510452
Nevada398874
Tuolumne396659
Mendocino382643
Amador347441
Humboldt323033
Lake316941
Glenn223223
Colusa214013
Calaveras191849
Siskiyou178414
Inyo132137
Mono12144
Del Norte10085
Plumas6536
Modoc4604
Mariposa3957
Trinity3735
Sierra1000
Alpine820
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 67°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 53°
Medford
Partly Cloudy
67° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 67°
Medford
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 67°
Klamath Falls
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 54°
Strong south winds Thursday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events

Latest Video

Image

Students lead peers to get through COVID-19

Image

Thursday, March 4 afternoon weather

Image

Pet of the Week: Fester and Tommy

Image

Thursday, March 4 morning weather

Image

Waiting on injuries, SOU Women's Basketball will sit out of spring season

Image

Wednesday, March 3rd Evening Weather

Image

Threads of Hope

Image

Wednesday, March 3 afternoon weather

Image

Wednesday, March 3 morning weather

Image

College basketball returns to southern Oregon for eight weeks this spring