Les Moonves will not receive his $120 million severance from CBS after the board of directors ruled the disgraced exec was terminated for cause.
“With regard to Mr. Moonves,” the board said in a statement, “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.”
Moonves was owed $140 million, according to his contract, but $20 million of that was set aside for grants. The remaining $120 million was set up in a trust, pending the decision of the board.
The statement from the board also addressed the general atmosphere at the network, saying, “As a result of their work, the investigators also concluded that harassment and retaliation are not pervasive at CBS. However, the investigators learned of past incidents of improper and unprofessional conduct, and concluded that the Company’s historical policies, practices and structures have not reflected a high institutional priority on preventing harassment and retaliation.”
They continued, “The investigation determined that the resources devoted to the Company’s Human Resources function, to training and development, and to diversity and inclusion initiatives have been inadequate, given the size and complexity of CBS’ businesses. Employees also cited past incidents in which HR and the Company did not hold high performers accountable for their conduct and protect employees from retaliation.”
In September, Les Moonves stepped down as chairman and CEO of CBS after a dozen women came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct. He announced his departure at the time by saying, “I am deeply saddened to be leaving the company. I wish nothing but the best for the organization, the newly comprised board of directors and all of its employees.”