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Les Moonves remains CBS chief while his board plans an investigation



Leslie Moonves, the embattled chief executive officer of CBS Corporation, survived the meeting. On Monday, three days after the publication of an article on allegations of sexual harassment against Mr. Moonves, the company went through a regular appointment meeting of the Board of Directors in anticipation of a Thursday payroll appeal.

Afterward, CBS said in a statement that its board was "in the process of selecting an outside lawyer for an independent investigation."

The company had announced the planned investigation on Friday, hours after the New Yorker released a report that said six women, said Mr. Moonves had them for sexual favors and retaliation when they refused.

The CBS statement on Monday added, "No other action was I talked about this matter at today's board meeting." This ended the speculation that Mr. Moonves would have immediate consequences for his alleged behavior.

The New Yorker quoted four of the women by name, including film and television actress Illeana Douglas. She described a meeting with the executive in 1997, in which she said he had "violently kissed her" while holding her down.

The lack of action by CBS was conspicuous at a time when some media companies were quickly removing prominent employees accused of misconduct. CBS fired Anchor Charlie Rose the day after the allegations were made, and NBC acted quickly to accuse Matt Lauer of Today for being accused of improper conduct and sexual harassment

. Moonves is well-known in the entertainment industry, but spent most of his career in executive suites, not in front of the camera. Nonetheless, the CBS Board could blame consumers and those who believe that they should take immediate action.

"It's short-sighted and cowardly by the board," said Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a professor at the Yale School of Management. "They think they show courage in the name of C.E.O., but they are currently orbiting the wagons."

Mr. Moonves, 68, has been chairing the CBS Board since 2016, and the majority of his 14 members have been appointed to office after being appointed Chief Executive in 2006. Three of the 14 are women and the average age of the board is 73. [19659011] At least two members expressed concern over the continued leadership of Mr. Moonves in the days leading up to the assembly meeting in New York, two persons familiar with the matter said ,

The meeting started around noon and lasted more than three hours. Mr. Moonves attended the Los Angeles meeting, but he reviewed his situation during the discussions, the two said.

In March, CBS retained the Proskauer Rose law firm to investigate the allegations of sexual misconduct on CBS News, a section that was at the center of the New York article. The Board intends to hire a separate company to review claims against the corporate culture of Mr. Moonves and CBS as a whole. Moonves has held senior network positions for more than three decades. At CBS, he led a turnaround and took him from hits as "Survivor" and "The Big Bang Theory" from last place to the most watched network.

The network's success was largely attributed to Mr. Moonves praised for his ability to select hit shows. He moves comfortably between Wall Street investors and Hollywood producers and speaks so easily about the mediation of transport fees as about programming for the prime-time audience.

Mr. Moonves draws an annual pay package worth $ 69.3 million. If the board finally fires him without faulting him, he will receive more than $ 184 million in wages and benefits as part of his departure.

In a similar case involving a media company, Martin Sorrell, the CEO of WPP, the largest advertising group in the world, resigned after being charged with personal allegations. He left the company before his board had completed his investigation of his behavior. The company considered the matter closed and Mr. Sorrell was allowed to withdraw and retire his stock options


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