×

Music Industry Veteran Doug Morris Exits CBS Board in Wake of Leslie Moonves Ouster

The former Sony Music chief served on the compensation committee and earned himself over $330,000 in 2017 for his director duties.

Two months shy of his 80th birthday, music industry veteran Doug Morris is vacating his seat on CBS Corp.’s board of directors. The announcement came Sept. 9 on the heels of news that Les Moonves was stepping down as chairman and CEO of CBS amid a cascade of sexual assault allegations.

Morris, the only executive to have held a chief position at each of the three major music groups (Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group and Sony Music), joined the board in 2007 when he was chairman and CEO of Vivendi’s UMG. Last year Morris collected some $332,000 in compensation and stock, according to an SEC filing by CBS, for his service on the board.

Morris spent 2011 through 2017 as CEO of Sony Music, home to Adele, Bruce Springsteen and Tony Bennett, among many others. His first ascent to the top of the C-suite came in 1994 when Morris took on the role of president and COO of Warner Music U.S. and was appointed chairman soon after. His exit from the company was itself scandalous at the time. Staffers at Atlantic Records, which fell under his purview, were accused of participating in a scheme to sell “cleans” — or promotional copies of albums in the form of compact discs — and pocket the profit, stiffing artists and songwriters out of royalties.

Morris was forced out and, in response, filed a $50 million wrongful termination suit.

At CBS, Morris served on the compensation committee, whose role on the board required him to “approve … compensation of the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer.” That committee was also required to “periodically review a succession plan.” There was some concern among music industry advocates of #MeToo and Time’s Up about Morris’ checkered past and whether he would play a part in deciding a potential severance for Moonves. As it turned out, the final negotiations of Moonves’ deal were handled primarily by lead CBS independent director Bruce Gordon.

Also exiting the board along with Morris are Arnold Kopelson, Leonard Goldberg, Charles Gifford and David Andelman. In their place are new board members Candace Beinecke, Barbara Byrne, Brian Goldner, Richard D. Parsons, Susan Schuman and Strauss Zelnick.

Morris currently runs New York-based label 12 Tone Records, which in July released the track “Bubblin'” by rapper Anderson.Paak in partnership with Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment.

Popular on Variety

More Music

  • Review: Taylor Swift Finds Giddiness, Amid

    Album Review: Taylor Swift's 'Lover'

    Sitting in a hot tub on “Saturday Night Live,” Will Ferrell and Rachel Dratch stole the sobriquet “love-ah” from the lexicon of acceptable terms of endearment — and, by golly, Taylor Swift is reaching into that oily water and stealing it back. The word doesn’t sound unctuous on her lips as she repeats it in [...]

  • Travis ScottWireless Festival, Finsbury Park, London,

    Travis Scott Surprises Fans With Netflix Documentary Reveal, Pop-Up in Houston

    Travis Scott just revealed his new Netflix documentary in the most organic way possible: a social media post to his 18.5 million followers on Instagram. The photo consisted of him holding a series of VHS tapes, which turns out to be the trailer for his forthcoming documentary on Netflix titled “Look Mom I Can Fly.” [...]

  • Beverly Hills Realtor Accused of Stealing

    Beverly Hills Realtor Accused of Stealing From Usher, Adam Lambert

    A Beverly Hills real estate agent has been arrested on charges of stealing from the homes of celebrities, including Usher, Adam Lambert and “Real Housewives” star Dorit Kemsley. Jason Emil Yaselli, 32, is accused of encouraging an accomplice, Benjamin Ackerman, to enter homes during open houses in order to steal from them. Ackerman allegedly sold [...]

  • Taylor Swift Debuts 'Lover' Video, Sings

    Taylor Swift Debuts 'Lover' Video, Sings 'Archer' During YouTube Livestream (Watch)

    Taylor Swift went live on YouTube today to talk about the inspiration behind her new album “Lover,” dropping tonight. Those who tuned into the live event on Swift’s YouTube channel were virtual attendees of the “Lover’s Lounge,” which included an acoustic performance of her already released single “The Archer,” a Q&A sesh and a behind-the-scenes [...]

  • Missy-Elliot VMA

    Missy Elliott to Drop New EP, ‘Iconology,’ Tonight

    It’s been nearly 15 years since Missy Elliott dropped her last album, and in that time she’s released a handful of songs, made some guest features, played some lconcerts, appeared alongside Katy Perry at the 2015 Super Bowl and this year she’s been voted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and on Monday night she’ll [...]

  • John Janick Interscope Geffen

    And the New Interscope Records Publicity Chief Is...

    Variety has confirmed one of the worst kept secrets in the music business: Cara Donatto is joining Interscope Geffen A&M (IGA) as its new head of publicity. She arrives at the Universal Music Group label from Atlantic Records, where she has spent nearly two decades of her career guiding public relations strategy for such artists [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content