Ex-CBS CEO Les Moonves won’t receive the payout he was hoping for after he was forced to step down over sexual misconduct claims.
CBS said it will deny Les Moonves a $167 million severance package, saying the former chief executive tried to conceal evidence and misled the company during the months-long probe into sexual misconduct allegations against him.
“With regard to Mr Moonves, we have determined that there are grounds to terminate for cause, including his wilful and material misfeasance, violation of company policies and breach of his employment contract, as well as his wilful failure to co-operate fully with the company’s investigation,” the board said today.
“Mr Moonves will not receive any severance payment from the company.”
In September, Moonves stepped down amid sexual misconduct allegations published first by Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker. More than a dozen women claimed Moonves abused or harassed them — with some alleging he forced sex acts on them while other accusers said he retaliated professionally when they rebuffed his advances.
CBS’s board hired two independent law firms, Debevoise & Plimpton and Covington & Burling, to look into whether Moonves had violated a sexual harassment clause, making him ineligible to obtaining his severance.
Investigators also looked into broader claims of a sexist culture at the company and concluded that “harassment and retaliation are not pervasive at CBS,” the company said.
Given past incidents of “improper and unprofessional conduct,” however, the board said it is putting more funds towards human resources training and development, as well as diversity and inclusion initiatives.