CBS stock drops 4 percent as board weighs CEO Les Moonves’ future

CBS Corporation’s stock is falling as its board of directors heads into a critical meeting on Monday, as the company prepares an investigation into CBS Les Moonves following accusations of sexual misconduct.

CBS shares fell about 4 percent in early morning trading to $51.90 a share. The company’s stock has dropped 10 percent since Friday when Moonves was accused of forcibly touching and kissing women during business meetings in Ronan Farrow’s latest New Yorker report.

At Monday’s meeting, the board is expected to select a committee to oversee an investigation into Moonves’s actions and to take a broad look at the workplace culture at the network, according to the Wall Street Journal. A person with knowledge of the CBS board’s schedule confirmed to TheWrap that there was a previously planned meeting of the board of directors set for Monday.

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Leslie Moonves through his career
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Leslie Moonves through his career
CA.Moonves.1.0731.RG �� CBS President Leslie Moonves at CBS studios, Wednesday, July 30, 1996. (Photo by Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 14: Television executive Leslie Moonves and wife Nancy Wiesenfeld attend the 49th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on September 14, 1997 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - MAY 6: Television executive Leslie Moonves attends the 'Chicago' Opening Night Performance on May 6, 1998 at the Ahmanson Theatre, Music Center in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
UNITED STATES - MAY 04: Mayor Rudy Giuliani is flanked by CBS President Leslie Moonves (left) and Donald Trump at news conference at the GM Building, where CBS announced that Bryant Gumbel will be the host of its new morning news program, 'This Morning.' Show, to be launched Nov. 1, will broadcast from Trump's International Plaza Building., (Photo by Andrew Savulich/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
E367122 18: Leslie Moonves of CBS attends The Variety/Schroders Big Picture Media Conference, April 4, 2000 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. (Photo by Robin Platzer)
President and CEO of CBS Leslie Moonves atThe Front Row conference on the business of media and entertainment in New York City, New York on Tuesday February 27, 2001. photo by Gabe Palacio/Getty Images
NEW YORK CITY - MAY 15: Television executive Leslie Moonves attends the CBS Upront Party on May 15, 2001 at the Tavern on the Green in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Leslie Moonves and Ted Danson at The Museum of Television and Radio's annual Los Angeles gala to honor Ted Danson and Dick Wolf at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Ca. Sunday, Sept. 29, 2002. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.
Leslie Moonves during Television Critics Association UPN Day - Arrivals at Renissance Hotel in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Jean-Paul Aussenard/WireImage)
Leslie Moonves, CEO and Chairman CBS during 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation' Fourth Season Premiere Screening at Museum of Television and Radio in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by Jean-Paul Aussenard/WireImage)
George Lopez and Leslie Moonves, co-president of Viacom (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 2: Television personality Julie Chen (L) and her husband President and CEO of CBS Leslie Moonves arrive at the 30th Annual Kennedy Center Honors December 2, 2007 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Nancy Ostertag/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS - OCTOBER 16: President and CEO of CBS Corp. Leslie Moonves arrives at the launch party for the video game 'Fallout: New Vegas' at the Rain Nightclub inside the Palms Casino Resort October 16, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images)
Leslie Moonves, President and CEO, CBS Corp., speaks during the "Outlook for the Entertainment Industry" panel at the 2009 Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California April 29, 2009. REUTERS/Phil McCarten (UNITED STATES BUSINESS ENTERTAINMENT HEADSHOT MEDIA)
(L-R) TV personality Julie Chen and President and CEO of CBS Corporation Leslie Moonves attend the Vanity Fair party during the 8th annual Tribeca Film Festival at the State Supreme Courthouse on April 21, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - NOVEMBER 17: Leslie Moonves attends The Hollywood Radio & Television Society presents 'A Conversation with Leslie Moonves' at The Beverly Hilton hotel on November 17, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Brian To/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 12: Leslie Moonves, President and Chief Executive Officer of CBS Corporation attends Loews Regency Hotel Power Breakfast Event at the Loews Regency Hotel on December 12, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Hider/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 14: President and Chief Executive Officer of CBS Corporation Leslie Moonves attends the 18th Annual Hollywood Film Awards at The Palladium on November 14, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 16: President and CEO of CBS Corporation Leslie Moonves attends the 2014 God's Love We Deliver Golden Heart Awards at Spring Studios on October 16, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 17: Leslie Moonves attends the closing night gala screening of 'Patriots Day' at the 2016 AFI Fest at TCL Chinese Theatre on November 17, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 14: Leslie Moonves is pictured at the Boston premiere of the movie 'Patriots Day' at the Boch Center Wang Theatre in Boston on Dec. 14, 2016. He is Chairman of the Board, President & CEO of CBS Corp. (Photo by John Blanding/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
SUN VALLEY, ID - JULY 11: (L-R) Julie Chen and Leslie 'Les' Moonves, president and chief executive officer of CBS Corporation, arrive for a morning session of the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 11, 2018 in Sun Valley, Idaho. Every July, some of the world's most wealthy and powerful businesspeople from the media, finance, technology and political spheres converge at the Sun Valley Resort for the exclusive weeklong conference. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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“I think the board realizes as a whole that this is a very, very, very serious situation. While there is an important Les piece to this, really, more important to the company as a whole is that this raises serious issues with regard to culture and harassment throughout the company,” one person familiar with the meeting told the WSJ.

CBS is set to release its second-quarter 2018 earnings on Aug. 2 after the stock market closes. Moonves would ordinarily be part of the afternoon’s accompanying conference call, which includes a Q&A period with media analysts.

It is unclear if the board will continue to support the current leadership through the investigation, which was its position on Friday. Should an interim chief be named, expect that to happen between Monday’s meeting and Thursday’s earnings.

In Farrow’s New Yorker story, six women accused Moonves of sexual harassment, with four of them accusing the CEO of forcibly touching or kissing them during business meetings, and two saying he physically intimidated them or threatened to derail their careers. All of the women, including actress and writer Illeana Douglas, told Farrow that they feared retaliation if they spoke out.

Thirty current and former employees of CBS told Farrow “that such behavior extended from Moonves to important parts of the corporation, including CBS News and ’60 Minutes,'” adding that 19 employees said former chairman of CBS News and current “60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager allowed harassment within the network’s news arm.

“I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely,” Moonves said in a statement. “But I always understood and respected — and abided by the principle — that ‘no’ means ‘no,’ and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone’s career.

Hours before the New Yorker published its exposé online, the network said it was opening an investigation into claims of sexual misconduct, though who was being investigated was not mentioned.

The accusations come amid a legal battle at the company with controlling shareholder Shari Redstone, who had been trying to convince Moonves and CBS to merge with sister company Viacom.

Read original story CBS Stock Drops 4 Percent as Board Weighs Les Moonves’ Future At TheWrap

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