Acting CBS Boss Joe Ianniello Promises ‘Frank Discussions About Our Culture’ in Staff Memo

Ianniello begins his second week as the interim chief following Les Moonves’ resignation

Last Updated: September 17, 2018 @ 3:14 PM

CBS’ acting CEO Joe Ianniello told company staffers on Monday that he is committed to creating “a safe, equitable and inclusive place to work, where every employee is treated with dignity and respect.”

The internal memo comes a week after the resignation of Les Moonves following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, and Ianniello stepping in as his interim replacement.

“As some of you have already seen, I have begun visiting with each of our business units,” Ianniello wrote in the memo, which was obtained by TheWrap. “Over these first few weeks in my new role, I will continue to spend time talking, and more importantly listening, to as many of you as possible. At the heart of these visits is a chance to learn from frank discussions about our culture.”

This is the second time in as many weeks that Ianniello has put out a memo to CBS staffers regarding the company’s culture.

“This new day is about more than words; it’s about action,” Ianniello continued. “We will allocate new resources across the Corporation that I believe will lead to clear improvements, including reimagined training techniques and new mechanisms for reporting workplace issues, without any fear of retribution.”

CBS and its controlling interest National Amusements, Inc. announced last week that Moonves would be leaving the organization after 15 years, following sexual misconduct accusations posed against him by multiple women. Ianniello, who has served as the company’s COO since 2013, will take over as CBS’ president and acting CEO while the board searches for a permanent successor. The chairman position will remain open pending the appointment of a permanent CEO.

A few days later, CBS announced that “60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager would also be leaving CBS for violating company policy. It was later revealed that Fager was fired for a threatening text message he sent to CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan, warning against the network’s coverage of the sexual harassment accusations against him.

You can read Ianniello’s full memo below:

I am reaching out to let you know that focusing on the culture of our workplace is – and will continue to be – a personal commitment of mine, as we transition to a new era here at CBS. This is a priority I share with each member of our Board of Directors, which is united in its pursuit to help move us forward in this regard, now and in the future.

To get things started, as some of you have already seen, I have begun visiting with each of our business units. Over these first few weeks in my new role, I will continue to spend time talking, and more importantly listening, to as many of you as possible. I want to find out quickly and clearly what inspires you about your part of the business, what challenges you, and what obstacles you think we face.

At the heart of these visits is a chance to learn from frank discussions about our culture. For many people, CBS has been and remains a great place to work. The goal now is to turn “many people” into “everyone.” All of us should feel CBS is a safe, equitable and inclusive place to work, where every employee is treated with dignity and respect. It doesn’t matter if you’re an intern or the CEO; every voice must be heard, and no one is above the standards we set.

This new day is about more than words; it’s about action. We will allocate new resources across the Corporation that I believe will lead to clear improvements, including reimagined training techniques and new mechanisms for reporting workplace issues, without any fear of retribution. As we learn more, we will also bring to bear the tremendous power of the CBS Television Network, as well as SHOWTIME, All Access and other platforms we operate to heighten social awareness. Stay tuned for more communication on these and other initiatives.

Meanwhile, the investigation being conducted by the two outside law firms is ongoing. Once it’s complete, we are going to act on its findings and recommendations. But there is no reason to wait on reassessing our culture. It’s incumbent on all of us right now to be a part of this opportunity we have in front of us. As we do, we will strengthen our workplace and strive to become pioneers in this area that is so crucial to our success.

There continues to be tremendous strength in this Company – and the root of that strength is all of you. There are things we can do immediately, and there are things that will take more time. We will and should have a diversity of opinions, appreciating that no two people will see things the same way. The common goal is to come together to make a positive impact on our future. We want to be the very best content company, and we want to be the greatest place to work.