‘Les is history’ at CBS, says veteran media analyst

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Les Moonves, president and chief executive officer of CBS Corp.


As the fate of CBS’ CEO, Leslie Moonves, remains uncertain, veteran media analyst Porter Bibb told CNBC that the likelihood that Moonves will survive as the network’s leader is slim.

“I think it’s inevitable that Les is history at CBS, whether he takes a leave of absence or is dismissed outright,” Bibb, who serves as managing partner of corporate finance at Mediatech Capital Partners, said Monday on “Power Lunch.”

Last Friday, The New Yorker published an article outlining the corporate culture at CBS and allegations of sexual misconduct against Moonves. At least six women — four on the record — accused the CEO of harassment and intimidation between the 1980s and 2000s, while dozens more described abuse at the company. Shares of CBS fell about 6 percent as a result.

In a statement, Moonves, who has been the CEO of the broadcast network for more than two decades and chairman of the board since 2003, said, “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. 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.”

The media company’s board of directors is set to discuss the matter at a meeting on Monday. But Bibb doesn’t think he stands a chance of keeping his post.

“That admission of guilt, though, really is the final blow,” Bibb said.

Shares of CBS continued to plummet on Monday by more than 5 percent during intraday trading. Wall Street analyst Tuna Amobi downgraded the stock to hold.

“There’s usually a cloud that kind of lingers when you get this type of announcement.,” Amobi, who works at CFRA, an investment research firm, said Monday on “Power Lunch.”

“If you look back the stock hasn’t really done much the last couple of years,” he said. “There’s no questions that Les Moonves has a stellar track record. But having covered this stock, there’s always this kind of disconnect between the fundamentals and the recent price action.”

Amobi said he shares the view that Moonves will likely not last as CEO of the company following the news, but said that the odds of a CBS-Viacom merger have been “enhanced by this situation.”



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