CBS Settles $120 Million Severance Dispute With Leslie Moonves

That money is going back into the company, according to an SEC filing

Les Moonves
Matthew Eisman/Getty Images

CBS and former entertainment chairman Leslie Moonves have resolved their dispute over $120 million that Moonves was set to collect as part of his exit from the company in 2018. In an SEC filing on Friday, CBS said that money, which had been held in a trust while they settled the dispute, will revert back to the company.

“The disputes between Mr. Moonves and CBS have now been resolved, and on May 14, 2021, the parties dismissed the arbitration proceeding,” CBS said in a filing. “The assets of the grantor trust will revert to the Company in their entirety.”

Moonves exited CBS Corp (the company’s name prior to its merger with Viacom) in September 2018 following multiple accusations of sexual misconduct against the longtime entertainment chief. Following an investigation, CBS determined he was not entitled to his $120 million golden parachute since the board had justified grounds to terminate him. Moonves then pursued arbitration in January 2019.

Moonves has denied all accusations against him.

“Leslie Moonves, CBS and a contractor to CBS have​ resolved their disputes. The cost of the settlement will be borne by the contractor,” CBS and Moonves said in a joint statement. “Mr. Moonves has decided to contribute the entire settlement amount to various charities. There will be no further comment regarding this settlement by Mr. Moonves or CBS.”

Moonves’ exit ended 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. The two companies re-joined to form ViacomCBS at the end of 2019.


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