CBS CEO Moonves resigns, company settles Shari Redstone, NAI lawsuit


(Reuters) – CBS Corp CEO Leslie Moonves resigned from the company, the company said on Sunday, amid fresh allegations of sexual assault and harassment.

CBS also announced a deal to end litigation against controlling shareholder Shari Redstone and National Amusements Inc for control of the broadcaster and media company.

Chief Operating Officer Joe Ianniello will take over as interim CEO as the board searches for a replacement, according to the announcement. The settlements end years of uncertainty over the future of CBS and could potentially open the door future deals.

The announcement comes after six more women accused Moonves of sexual assault and harassment in a report published on Sunday in the New Yorker magazine.

National Amusements agreed to avoid pressing for a merger of CBS and Viacom, which is also controlled by National Amusements, for at least two years.

In earlier court filings, NAI had dropped support for a deal before it was sued in May by CBS for control of the company. The settlement does not preclude other parties from suggesting a merger or bringing other potential transactions to the board, one source said.

Moonves, 68, who turned CBS from an aging radio and TV broadcaster into a provider of shows to digital platforms, was expected to reap an estimated $100 million in severance.

But Moonves could end up with nothing pending an investigation into allegations of violence against women conducted by law firms hired by an independent committee of the CBS board of directors.

CBS said it and Moonves will donate $20 million of Moonves’ severance to organizations supporting the #MeToo movement.

Five current independent directors and one National Amusement-affiliated director have stepped down from the board of directors and six new directors have been elected, the company said.

FILE PHOTO: Leslie Moonves, Chairman and CEO, CBS Corporation, speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., May 3, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

Reporting by Kenneth Li in New York; Editing by Will Dunham



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