Ex-SEC Chair Mary Jo White Is One of Two Women Leading the Investigation of CBS CEO Les Moonves
Less than a week after The New Yorker published an article detailing allegations of sexual harassment of six women by CBS President and CEO Les Moonves, the network has hired two law firms to investigate the allegations.
The firms, Covington & Burling and Debevoise & Plimpton, will be responsible for the independent investigation, which will include not only the sexual abuse allegations, but also “cultural issues at all levels of CBS.”
According to the board of directors’ official statement, the members take the allegations “seriously” and are “committed to acting in the best interest of the Company and all of its shareholders.” Moonves has been recused from the investigation, but has not yet been asked to step aside.
Mary Jo White, who was formerly the chairwoman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and a U.S. attorney in Manhattan, will be in charge of the investigation from Debevoise & Plimpton. From Covington & Burling, Nancy Kestenbaum will lead the probe. She previously served as a senior prosecutor in the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office.
White’s expertise lies in “counseling boards of directors and representing clients on significant and sensitive matters,” according to her biography. Kestenbaum, meanwhile, has experience with corporate internal investigations and SEC and regulatory investigations, and has overseen a number of investigations into instances of sexual misconduct.
Bruce Gordon, a CBS board member and former president of the NAACP, has been named the lead independent director of the CBS board. He will also serve alongside Linda Griego and Robert N. Klieger in a special committee of board members formed to help facilitate the investigation.