CBS CEO and chairman Les Moonves left the company Sunday after a series of new sexual harassment and assault allegations were made against him in a New Yorker report published earlier that day.
The end of Moonves’ 20-year tenure as CEO leaves CBS’ chief operating officer, Joseph Ianniello, as president and acting CEO of the company.
Ianniello joined CBS in 1997 and worked his way up through various financial roles to become the company’s chief financial officer in 2009. He was then promoted to be the company’s chief operating officer in 2013, a position he held until Sunday evening, when Moonves left.
Deadline last month reported on private exchanges between Ianniello and Moonves, which were made public as a result of the company’s legal battle with its controlling shareholder, National Amusements, owned by the Redstone family.
The outlet wrote that the exchanges were made on the disappearing-text app, TigerText, prior to the first New Yorker report on Moonves’ sexual misconduct allegations published in July, and depicted Moonves and Ianniello as “two confederates in a high-stakes corporate war.”
Ianniello reportedly messaged Moonves “I will have your back to the end!” following a May 13 CBS board meeting, where the board voted to institute a stock dividend that would dilute the Redstone family’s voting control of the company. Ianniello’s messages also contained supportive messages referencing “The Godfather” and a promise to his boss that read, “This way you are not alone,” according to Deadline.
Industry experts say that Ianniello’s tenure as interim CEO will likely be short, in large part due to his close rapport with Moonves.
Media analyst Rich Greenfield of BTIG predicted in a recent note that Ianniello will be gone from the company by the end of 2018:
“We believe acting CBS CEO, Joseph Ianniello, will likely leave the company before the end of calendar 2018 – similar to how acting Viacom CEO, Tom Dooley, lasted only 90 days after the departure of former CEO, Philippe Dauman … Ianniello protected Moonves for years, had a similar focus on short-term cheerleading actions versus real long-term strategy, and was overpaid for years for his support of Moonves.”
Greenfield wrote that CBS would likely seek a replacement for Ianniello from outside of the company’s executive ranks.
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