×

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.

More Music

  • Wu Tang An American Saga Dollface

    Hulu Renews 'Wu-Tang: An American Saga' and 'Dollface' for Season 2

    Hulu has renewed “Wu Tang: An American Saga” and “Dollface,” each for a second season. The former, created and written by Alex Tse and the RZA, is based on the formation of the Wu-Tang Clan. The first season explored the hip-hop group’s history and daily struggles of balancing its rising music career on the backdrop [...]

  • Lucian Grainge

    Universal Music Chief Lucian Grainge to Receive Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

    Lucian Grainge — chairman/CEO of Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company — will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame next Thursday (Jan. 23). Fittingly, the ceremony will take place in front of the historic Capitol Records building; Capitol is one of the several Universal-owned labels under Grainge’s domain. Universal, recently [...]

  • Deborah Dugan Recording Academy Head

    Deborah Dugan’s Attorney Slams Grammys With Fiery Statement After Ouster

    Less than 12 hours after news broke that Deborah Dugan had been placed on administrative leave from her post as president/CEO of the Recording Academy, her attorney fired back with a statement. “What has been reported is not nearly the story that needs to be told. When our ability to speak is not restrained by [...]

  • Recording Academy President/CEO Deborah Dugan participates

    Grammy Shocker: Deborah Dugan Ouster Was a ‘Coup,’ Insiders Say

    UPDATED: As the music industry reeled in the wake of Deborah Dugan’s sudden removal from her post as president/CEO of the Recording Academy on Thursday — a mere five months after she’d taken charge, and just ten days before the Grammy Awards — even insiders were stunned by the abruptness of the move and perplexed [...]

  • Alfred Hitchcock and Eminem covers

    Eminem Pays Homage to Alfred Hitchcock With 'Murdered' Album Cover and Title

    Eminem may not be the Master of Suspense: He just dropped his new album, “Music to Be Murdered By,” Thursday at midnight, without even milking it with any prior warning. But he appears to be a fan of Alfred Hitchcock anyway. The new set shares its title and cover concept with the one and only [...]

  • Mac Miller Circles Album Review

    Mac Miller's 'Circles': Album Review

    If you were cynical, you might think releasing a posthumous, pieced-together Mac Miller album 16 months after his passing from an accidental drug overdose would be just one more part of the current death march of releases from deceased young rappers with pleadingly emotive lyrics and sonically rock-ist edges. Like late Soundcloud emo-rappers such as [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content