Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Les Moonves Has $300 Million On The Line

CBS Corp. offered Leslie Moonves a contract extension last year that could pay him several hundred million dollars if he remains chief executive officer until 2021. Now that might be in flux.

According to Bloomberg, a premature termination of Moonves’s contract, set to expire June 30, 2021, could cost him as much as $300 million in forfeited wages, bonuses and other awards, according to a Bloomberg analysis of regulatory filings. Whether that happens partly depends on the outcome of an investigation by CBS’s board.

If Moonves, 68, is terminated for cause -- a typical outcome for an employee found to have violated company policy -- or steps aside voluntarily without a valid reason for doing so, he could forgo equity awards and a long-term cash bonus valued at $135 million as of Friday.

Moonves would also forgo about $126.5 million in salary, bonuses and stock awards that CBS is obligated to pay him through the end of his contract. That figure is partly based on his meeting certain performance criteria. After his contract expires, Moonves also has the right to become a producer and senior adviser to CBS, which would pay him $40 million over five years.

If the CBS board determines Moonves didn’t violate company rules but terminates him anyway, he’ll reap a windfall. He’ll be entitled to about $125.5 million in severance. Some of his outstanding awards will vest immediately, while others will pay out depending on the firm’s future performance.

He’s accumulated pension benefits and compensation deferred from prior years worth about $40 million that will be his whenever he leaves, regardless of the circumstances.

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