CBS Board Shakeup: 6 New Independent Directors In and 6 Out as Les Moonves Exits Company

Candace Beinecke, Barbara Byrne, Brian Goldner, Richard D. Parsons, Susan Schuman and Strauss Zelnick join

Les Moonves and Julie Chen

Les Moonves isn’t the only face leaving CBS. Five independent directors and one National Amusements Inc.-affiliated director are exiting the company’s board, CBS and National Amusements said in a joint statement on Sunday night. They will be replaced by the following six new independent directors: Candace Beinecke, Barbara Byrne, Brian Goldner, Richard D. Parsons, Susan Schuman and Strauss Zelnick.

Bruce Gordon, William Cohen, Gary Countryman, Linda Griego and Martha Minow will remain in their places on the board, as will the NAI-affiliates, Shari Redstone and Robert Klieger.

“The ongoing members of the Nominating and Governance Committee have endorsed the new independent directors,” the CBS and NAI media release read.

Click here for more information from Sunday’s settlement, which sees COO Joe Ianiello replacing Moonves on an interim basis. Also of interest from this evening’s announcement, Moonves may not receive any severance. Additionally, he and CBS will donate $20 million to #MeToo groups.

Moonves’ exit comes two months after Ronan Farrow’s bombshell report in the New Yorker, in which six women accused the longtime media mogul of sexual harassment. On Sunday, a new report from Farrow in The New Yorker outlined accusations of sexual assault and harassment from six additional women.

In the first story, which was published in July, four women accused Moonves (pictured above with wife Julie Chen) of forcibly touching or kissing them during business meetings. Two said the CBS CEO physically intimidated them or threatened to derail their careers.

The latest report on Sunday included accusations that Moonves forced women into unwanted sexual situations, including oral sex, and retaliated when they refused. One veteran television executive, Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, said that Moonves physically assaulted her in addition to coercing her into oral sex in the 1980s. Last year, she filed a report with the LAPD. The district attorney could not press charges due to the statute of limitations expiring.

CBS had initially kept Moonves as CEO while hiring two law firms to investigate the accusations against Moonves as well as the larger culture within the company. The spokesman for one of those investigations confirmed to TheWrap on Sunday that the investigation is ongoing.

Moonves’ exit ends a 23-year tenure with the company, which started in 1995 when he was named president of CBS Entertainment, joining from Warner Bros. He became chairman in 2003 and was named CEO in 2006, following the split of CBS and Viacom.

Unlike C-suite level executives at other media companies, Moonves was more heavily involved in the day-to-day programming decisions at CBS. During his tenure, CBS has been among the most stable broadcast networks, beating every other network among total viewers for the past 10 years (and 15 of the past 16 years), and spearheading the launch of CBS All Access, its subscription-based streaming service.

In May, CBS filed a suit against Shari Redstone and her National Amusements Inc., a family-run business that controls roughly 80 percent of the voting power in both CBS and Viacom.

CBS and Moonves argued that Redstone had shirked her duty to shareholders by pushing for a re-merger with Viacom, which CBS saw as potentially harmful to the value of the company.

Moonves and CBS also laid out a plan to issue dividends that would dilute Redstone’s control of the company altogether. A trial was set to begin on Oct. 3. That’s no longer necessary.