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Les Moonves Steps Down as Chairman and CEO of CBS in the Wake of Sexual Harassment Allegations

Joseph Ianniello, CBS's current COO, was appointed President and Acting CEO

Krutika Mallikarjuna

Les Moonves is stepping stepping down from his position as the longtime chairman and CEO of CBS in the wake of several sexual harassment allegations that were first reported by Ronan Farrow of The New Yorker.

The company announced the news late Sunday, noting that Joseph Ianniello, CBS's current COO, has been named president and acting CEO while the CBS Board of Directors conducts a search for a permanent successor. Additionally, five members of the board will be replaced with new directors.

According to CBS, Moonves will not receive any severance benefits at this time. Instead, he will be donating $20 million to "one or more organizations that support the #MeToo movement and equality for women in the workplace." He will take with him "certain fully accrued and vested compensation and benefits," and any future payments are dependent on the result of the ongoing independent investigation.

The decision comes after 12 women alleged Moonves had sexually harassed or assaulted them, and in more than one case ruined careers by blacklisting women who rejected him. The myriad claims range from being forced to perform oral in the workplace and exposing himself to women, as well as physical violence and intimidation. In a statement made in July when news of the allegations first broke, Moonves acknowledged three of the encounters but alleges they were all consensual.

"The appalling accusations in this article are untrue. What is true is that I had consensual relations with three of the women some 25 years ago before I came to CBS," said Moonves previously. "And I have never used my position to hinder the advancement or careers of women. In my 40 years of work, I have never before heard of such disturbing accusations. I can only surmise they are surfacing now for the first time, decades later, as part of a concerted effort by others to destroy my name, my reputation, and my career. Anyone who knows me knows that the person described in this article is not me."

(Full Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS.)