Former CBS CEO Les Moonves will not receive his $120 million severance package following a sexual misconduct probe, the company’s board of directors announced Monday evening.
“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,” the board said in a statement.
The media executive resigned from his role at the company in September after a dozen women came forward alleging sexual misconduct. Moonves has denied the accusations of nonconsensual sexual relations.
CBS shares were up slightly in extended trade. The stock has fallen sharply this year, declining nearly 20 percent since the start of 2018.
A version of the report prepared for the CBS board said that Moonves destroyed evidence and misled investigators, The New York Times reported earlier this month. The lawyers wrote that they found Moonves to be “evasive and untruthful at times and to have deliberately lied about and minimized the extent of his sexual misconduct.”
Andrew Levander, Moonves’s attorney, told the Times that Moonves “cooperated extensively and fully with investigators.”
Activist groups immediately praised the board’s decision.
“CBS has heard our call! No golden parachute for Moonves,” the National Organization for Women’s New York chapter wrote on Twitter. The group protested against Moonves’s severance package last week at CBS’s annual shareholders meeting.
The company said that its inquiry into Moonves, CBS News and “cultural issues at CBS” did not turn up evidence of pervasive problems related to harassment and retaliation. But it noted investigators did uncover incidents of “improper and unprofessional conduct.”
Given the size of CBS’s business, investigators concluded that the company was not providing adequate resources to its human resources department, to training and development, or for diversity and inclusion initiatives.
The statement said that the company’s “historical policies, practices and structures have not reflected a high institutional priority on preventing harassment and retaliation.”
The company said that it had already begun to take “robust steps” to improve its workplace.
“Among other things, the Company appointed a new Chief People Officer, is actively engaged in ways to enhance and reimagine the Human Resources function, and has retained outside expert advisors to develop other initiatives for promoting a workplace culture of dignity, transparency, respect and inclusion,” the statement said.