CBS Names Parsons Interim Chairman

CBS has tapped former Time Warner chairman and CEO Richard Parsons to be its interim chairman, as the broadcaster searches for a replacement for ousted chairman and CEO Les Moonves and tries to recover from an embarrassing sexual harassment scandal.

Parsons, who was named Time Warner CEO in 2002 and became chairman in 2003, led the media giant through some of its roughest patches. Parsons was named to the CBS board of directors in the wake of the latest scandal, where Moonves was accused by several women of sexually harassing them over the course of his career. CBS has hired an independent investigator to look into the accusations. Former CBS chief operating officer Joe Ianiello was named interim CEO of the company after Moonves' departure. 

“Dick Parsons has a combination of deep industry knowledge and unmatched corporate and board experience,” said CBS’ Nominating and Governance Committee chair Candace Beinecke in a statement. “We are fortunate to have Dick in this leadership role.”

After retiring from Time Warner in 2008, Parsons has become the go-to executive to step in to lead companies through some tricky situations. Shortly after leaving the media giant Parsons was named chairman of Citibank, steering the financial services behemoth through the overall financial crisis until 2012. And in 2014, NBA commissioner Adam Silver tapped him as interim CEO of the NBA Los Angeles Clippers, after owner Donald Sterling was forced to sell the team after making a series of racist remarks. 

CBS also announced that Bruce Gordon and William Cohen, who have served on the board of directors since the broadcaster became a stand-alone public company in 2006, have decided to step down from their posts to focus on other personal and professional priorities.

“We have a distinguished and independent Board that is steadfast in its commitment to serve the best interests of all shareholders,” Parsons said in a statement. “I think I speak for all Board members when I say I look forward to learning more about CBS’ compelling opportunities and how we can help guide and support the Company’s growth.”