Ex-CBS chief Les Moonves will not get severance


Leslie ‘Les’ Moonves, president and chief executive officer of CBS Corporation, attends the third day of the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 13, 2017 in Sun Valley, Idaho. Every July, some of the world’s most wealthy and powerful businesspeople from the media, finance, technology and political spheres converge at the Sun Valley Resort for the exclusive weeklong conference. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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Ousted CBS chief executive Les Moonves “will not receive any severance payment” from the company, the board of directors said Monday evening.

The board members said they had concluded that they had ample reason to fire Moonves, thus denying him severance.

Under the terms of his enormously generous employment contract, Moonves was owed about $140 million. When he was forced out in September amid sexual harassment and assault allegations, $20 million was set aside for grants and the remaining $120 million was set up in a trust.

The $120 million has been in a holding pattern for months while the CBS board awaited findings from two law firms that were hired to investigate the allegations against Moonves.

The law firms interviewed many of the women who had accused Moonves of sexual misconduct. The firms also looked into allegations against other individuals at the media company.

The New York Times obtained a draft version of the lawyers’ report and said it included multiple examples of both sexual misconduct and corporate misconduct.

CBS board members met last week for the company’s annual meeting. They did not announce anything about Moonves at that time.

But on Monday evening, they said in a statement that the wide-ranging investigation into Moonves, CBS News “and cultural issues at CBS” is now complete.

“With regard to Mr. Moonves, we have determined that there are grounds to terminate for cause, including his willful and material misfeasance, violation of Company policies and breach of his employment contract, as well as his willful failure to cooperate fully with the Company’s investigation. Mr. Moonves will not receive any severance payment from the Company,” the board said in a statement.

An attorney for Moonves had no immediate comment.

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