Les Moonves out at CBS over sexual misconduct allegations

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Leslie Moonves is out as CEO of CBS, the company said Sunday evening, following about a dozen allegations of sexual misconduct that were published in The New Yorker. CBS said at the same time that it has settled its legal battle with Shari Redstone's National Amusements over control of the company.

Moonves and CBS will donate $20 million to organizations that support the #MeToo movement and equality for women in the workplace, according to a statement from the company. The donation, which will be made immediately, will be deducted from any severance pay that CBS may owe Moonves.

CBS said Moonves will not receive any severance benefits at this time, but will get "certain fully accrued and vested compensation and benefits." Any payments made to him in the future will depend on the outcome of its investigation into the allegations.

Joseph Ianniello, who joined the company in 2005 and has been chief operating officer since 2013, was named president and acting CEO as the board searches for a permanent replacement for Moonves. The chairman position will remain open until a new CEO is selected.

The developments came after The New Yorker published a report Sunday that detailed six more claims of sexual misconduct against Moonves.

According to CBS's statement, National Amusements also confirmed that it has no plans to propose a merger of CBS and Viacom—two companies controlled by National Amusements—and will make no such proposal for at least two years after the date of the settlement. Moonves had opposed Redstone's interest in pursuing a recombination of the companies, which were once one entity.

Six new independent directors were named to the board, replacing five independent directors and one National Amusement-affiliated director.

Moonves joined CBS in 1995 as entertainment president. He became CEO of CBS in 2006 when CBS and Viacom split.

Moonves is a regular presence at the TV upfronts, the annual showcase in which networks look to impress ad buyer and secure commitments for the bulk of their commercial time in the approaching season. It's not typical to see the CEO of the company speak directly to advertisers.

Under Moonves, CBS has been the No. 1 TV network in total viewers for 15 of the past 16 seasons. He also ushered in the company's emphasis on streaming video with the launch of several direct-to-consumer platforms, including CBS All Access.

Moonves has been heavily involved in programming the channel, starting out as an actor with a brief stint on "The Six Million Dollar Man" before moving behind the camera. Moonves has held executive roles at Lorimar and Warner Bros., where he became CEO of the studios' production unit, helping develop shows like "ER" and "Friends."

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