NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Leslie Moonves is departing as chairman and CEO of CBS following new published allegations of sexual misconduct, CBS announced Sunday night.
Moonves was named chairman and CEO of CBS Corp. in 2006, after a highly successful stint as the head of CBS Entertainment.
He helped propel the network from last to first place in the ratings with hits including “CSI”, “The Big Bang Theory” and “Blue Bloods.”
Under his leadership, CBS has been the most watched network in prime time in 15 of the past 16 years.
Moonves was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame five years ago, and Broadcasting and Cable’s Hall of Fame in 2004.
“For the past 24 years it has been an incredible privilege to lead CBS’s renaissance and transformation into a leading global media company,” Moonves said in a statement. “The best part of this journey has been working alongside the dedicated and talented people in this company. Together, we built CBS into a destination where the best in the business come to work and succeed.
“Untrue allegations from decades ago are now being made against me that are not consistent with who I am. Effective immediately, I will no longer be Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CBS. 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.”
Moonves’ departure comes after multiple women came forward in published reports alleging sexual misconduct.
The CBS Board has said it takes those claims very seriously and hired two law firms to investigate.
Chief Operating Officer Joseph Ianniello will serve as president and acting CEO while the board conducts a search for a permanent successor.
Moonves and CBS will donate $20 million to one or more organizations that support the #MeToo movement and equality for women in the workplace. Moonves will not receive any severance benefits at this time, and any payments to be made in the future will depend upon the results of the independent investigation.