Leslie Moonves Extends Contract as CBS CEO Through June 2019

Les Moonves
Michael Kovac/Getty Images

Leslie Moonves has set a two-year extension of his contract to remain prexy-CEO of CBS Corp. The new deal will keep him at the helm of the Eye through June 2019.

According to CBS, Moonves’ base salary will remain unchanged under the new deal, although he will be eligible for a performance-based bonus, which is where the lion’s share of his considerable compensation has come from. At the end of his exec contract, Moonves, 65, will become an executive adviser to the company for five years and have the option to launch a CBS-based production company.

In 2013, Moonves raked in $66.9 million: $3.5 million in base salary, plus another $28.5 million in bonus coin, $26.4 million in stock awards and $5.8 million in stock option awards.

The new deal is essentially a two-year extension of his most recent contract, although the previous deal had his term as an exec adviser running four years, not five. The production company provision is becoming the norm for CEOs with a creative background. Former News Corp. COO Peter Chernin set the bar high with his gold-plated Fox-based film and TV production pact, complete with rich commitments, that he triggered after stepping down from his exec post in 2009.

Moonves’ extension had been expected. CBS Corp. is on a roll, reaping the rewards of the digital and international content licensing booms, and he’s known to be a hands-on manager in most aspects of CBS’ operations. The extension to 2019 puts to rest any question about succession issues at the company.

Moonves came to CBS as entertainment prexy in 1995 after establishing himself as a TV heavyweight at Lorimar and Warner Bros. TV. He quickly rose through the ranks and has been CEO of CBS since the company split off of Viacom in 2006.

The extension of Moonves’ deal comes amid mounting speculation about the fate of CBS Corp. and Viacom. Controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone is 91 and has yet to publicly detail a plan for transferring control of the companies.

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  1. Robert McCutchan says:

    Good job by CBS. They locked up the main reason why CBS has become the network powerhouse once again! Moonves has assembled a team that knows winning programming, knows what works and year in and year out has become as the promo says “America’s most watched network”.

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