Media company CBS Corp.’s board is in talks with CEO Les Moonves to negotiate his exit, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
These discussions are occurring as the company and its controlling shareholder Shari Redstone and National Amusements are also hammering out a settlement to a legal dispute over the control of CBS.
The two sides would agree to a two-year standstill on any discussions of a CBS and Viacom merger as part of the settlement, sources close to the talks told Reuters.
The board has offered a roughly $100 million exit package, CNBC reported earlier on Thursday, citing people familiar with the negotiations.
That number could not be independently verified.
A New Yorker report in late July featured claims against Moonves from six women spanning different time periods over two decades, from 1985 to 2006. The allegations included sexual assault and unwanted advances.
The board has asked for autonomy from its controlling shareholder, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. If granted, CBS could be free to pursue a sale.
Moonves will be replaced by Chief Operating Officer Joe Ianniello as interim CEO, CNBC reported.
Long viewed as a successor to Moonves, Ianniello was instrumental in CBS’s success following its split from Viacom in 2006. He has overseen the company’s transformation from traditional TV and radio broadcaster to a supplier of shows to digital platforms and the launch of its own streaming TV service.
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CBS declined to comment. Representatives of the board and representatives for the investigations into Moonves also declined to comment.
Moonves, who joined CBS in 1995 and became CEO in 2006, has been locked in a legal battle over control of the company with National Amusements, owned by Shari Redstone and her father, Sumner, who also control media company Viacom.
Moonves received total compensation of $69.33 million in 2017, making him one of the highest paid U.S. executives. Under his contract, he is entitled to up to $180 million in severance.
According to the CNBC report, the board wants to reserve the ability to claw back some of the compensation depending on the results of investigations into sexual harassment allegations against Moonves. It was not immediately clear if this could mean Moonves receives less than $100 million or anything at all.