CNBC is reporting that Leslie Moonves in currently in settlement talks with the CBS board of directors about leaving the company.
Moonves, who has been accused of inappropriate conduct in incidents that happened more than two decades ago, was reportedly offered somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 million by the board, the outlet reports.The 68-year-old executive is reportedly due nearly $180 million in severance and a production deal under his current contract.
If Moonves exits the company, Chief Operating Officer Joe Ianniello will temporarily assume his position.
A CBS spokesman declined to comment.
Six women accused Moonves of sexual misconduct in a lengthy article in The New Yorker, which also suggested how the company maintains a testosterone-fueled culture where “everything feels old, the people, the furniture, the culture, the mores.” One of the accusers is actress Illeana Douglas (Six Feet Under), who reportedly alleges she was fired from a 1997 pilot after refusing Moonves’ advances which included “violent kissing” and holding her down on his office couch.
Moonves released this statement to The New Yorker that was also obtained by EW: “Throughout my time at CBS, we have promoted a culture of respect and opportunity for all employees, and have consistently found success elevating women to top executive positions across our Company. I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely. But I always understood and respected – and abided by the principle – that ‘no’ means ‘no,’ and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone’s career. This is a time when we all are appropriately focused on how we help improve our society, and we at CBS are committed to being part of the solution.”
A former actor, Moonves went on to become one of the most powerful men in the industry after resuscitating CBS. His compensation reflects his value to the company: The New Yorker reports that he earned nearly $70,000,000 last year, making him one of the highest-paid executives in the world.