Wednesday, April 24, 2019

CBS Suspends CEO Search, Extends Ianniello

CBS Corp. said it suspended its search for a new chief executive, extending the employment of its acting CEO Joe Ianniello through the end of the year, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Ianniello has been leading the media company since September, when Chairman and Chief Executive Leslie Moonves was forced to resign as a result of numerous allegations of sexual assault and misconduct.

Ianniello has made several high-profile appointments since he took over, naming David Nevins chief creative officer and appointing Susan Zirinsky to be the first female president of CBS News. Ms. Zirinsky succeeded David Rhodes, under whose tenure CBS News faced public scrutiny for sexual-harassment allegations against former star anchor Charlie Rose and Jeff Fager, the executive producer of its “60 Minutes” newsmagazine.

“Joe has demonstrated exceptional leadership during this time of unprecedented transition at CBS,” the company board of directors said Tuesday. “He steadied the ship with some key appointments and a commitment to cultural change, and steered it forward by focusing CBS’ operations around its growing direct-to-consumer strategy.”

The extension of Ianniello’s employment agreement comes as analysts are speculating that directors of CBS and sister company Viacom Inc. may again explore a potential merger. Shari Redstone, president of National Amusements Inc., the controlling shareholder of CBS and Viacom, has previously pushed for a merger.

At some point before the end of the year, CBS’s board will likely evaluate a merger with Viacom, according to a person familiar with the company’s plans.

If the two companies do combine, that would seemingly force either Viacom CEO Bob Bakish or the new chief of CBS to relinquish their title.

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