The CBS board of directors released a statement this evening announcing their retention of an independent investigator to look into the recent allegations against CEO Les Moonves as well as “cultural issues at all levels of CBS.” They also announced the formation of a “Special Committee of Board Members” to aid the investigation, which will include former NAACP president and CEO Bruce S. Gordon, former deputy mayor of Los Angeles Linda M. Griego, and Robert N. Klieger, a law partner whose practice focuses on civil litigation and who, at age 43, is also the youngest member of the board. The 13-member board, which includes 10 men and 3 women, has also appointed Gordon as the lead independent director of the board of directors. The statement says the board takes these allegations seriously and that they are “committed to acting in the best interest of the Company and all of its shareholders.” The full statement can be read below.
STATEMENT FROM CBS BOARD OF DIRECTORS
At its meeting this afternoon, the CBS Board of Directors unanimously approved the retention of Covington & Burling and Debevoise & Plimpton to conduct a full investigation of the allegations in recent press reports about Chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves, CBS News and cultural issues at all levels of CBS. At Covington & Burling the investigation will be led by Nancy Kestenbaum, and at Debevoise & Plimpton it will be led by Mary Jo White.
To help facilitate the investigation, a Special Committee of Board members has been formed comprised of Bruce S. Gordon, Linda Griego and Robert N. Klieger. Mr. Moonves will have no role in the investigation and is entirely recused from it. The Board took no further action at this meeting pending discussion with counsel as to appropriate next steps.
The Board noted that it takes these allegations seriously and is committed to acting in the best interest of the Company and all of its shareholders, and is confident that the employees of CBS will continue to perform at a high level as this process unfolds.
In addition, the Board took action today to appoint Bruce S. Gordon to serve as Lead Independent Director of the Board of Directors.
Neither the Board nor the Company expects to comment further on this matter at this time.