CBS names Thomas to new diversity post

Eye takes first step in expanding recruitment pact

CBS News exec Josie Thomas has been appointed to the newly created position of senior VP of diversity at CBS Television.

Thomas, who currently serves as VP of biz affairs at CBS News, will report directly to Leslie Moonves, CBS president-CEO.

She will be responsible for the creation and execution of initiatives designed to improve outreach and recruitment, hiring, promotion and mentoring practices to encourage diversity in all divisions of CBS. CBS News exec Josie Thomas has been appointed to the newly created position of senior VP of diversity at CBS Television.

Charged with developing new ways of increasing representation of minorities and women in both management and non-management positions, she will also work with minority vendors, advertising agencies and other businesses to assure that CBS’ diversity initiatives include those who provide services to the company. Meanwhile, Thomas will continue as a senior adviser to Andrew Heyward, president of CBS News.

The appointment is part of the larger diversity deal that CBS signed Feb. 3 in Los Angeles. The pact, signed by Moonves, NAACP president-CEO Kweisi Mfume and reps from a coalition of minority interest groups, also sets a June 30 deadline for CBS to develop more minority talent and hire more qualified minority showrunners.

Eager to improve

“As broadcasters, we believe strongly that it is our duty to reflect the public that makes up our viewing audience. We have made strides in the diversity of our organization over the years, but we remain eager to do what is necessary and what is right to improve that record,” said Moonves.

Thomas is the second executive at a major network to be named to a high-level diversity post. In February NBC appointed Paula Madison to the newly created post of vice president of diversity.

Madison, also veepee for news at WNBC New York, reports to NBC president-CEO Bob Wright and oversees a six-chair diversity council at the Peacock.

Fox still searching

Fox, meanwhile, is still in the process of finding a diversity exec. Like CBS, Fox execs have decided to put the position at the senior VP level.

The network has hired New York-based national search firm Berkhemer Clayton to find candidates. The company is looking both inside and outside the television business, and there is no word on when Fox might be ready to fill the position.

Meanwhile, despite pressure from the NAACP and the diversity coalition, ABC has not announced plans to name a vice president of diversity. The Alphabet web has employed a director of diversity, Chinea Armstrong, since 1997.

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