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Leslie Moonves re-ups with CBS

New contract runs through Feb. 22, 2015

NEW YORK -- CBS Corp. has signed a new long-term employment agreement with president and CEO Leslie Moonves that will keep him in place through Feb. 22, 2015.

The deal locks up the 60-year-old Moonves, seen by many in the industry as the key asset for CBS Corp., for additional years as his previous contract was set to expire in 2011.

CBS said the new contract provides "incentives for Moonves to continue his relationship with the company at the end of the employment term" -- language that suggested to at least a couple of observers that Moonves could stay involved as senior advisor rather than president and CEO after the new contract ends, meaning the company may want to start grooming a successor.

However, the 2007 announcement of Moonves' previous contract included the same language about incentives to keep him involved at the company. That previous deal was ripped up early and replaced with Wednesday's extension.

The previous deal allowed Moonves to choose to serve after the end of the employment period as either a senior adviser or producer for three years. The new contract, whose details are expected to be filed with the SEC on Thursday, is expected to contain a similar clause.

Analysts said it was good news that the company locked up its charismatic leader, highlighting that while CBS has great executive talent, no manager is as well-established and -known on the Street as Moonves.

"This is, above all, great news for every shareholder of CBS," echoed executive chairman and controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone. "Leslie is a superb executive who has led CBS to a position of unparalleled leadership in the industry."

"I have the privilege of working with the greatest team of people in this or any other business," said Moonves. "I am very gratified that my relationship with the company will continue as we build on the strong foundation we have laid for ongoing growth and success."

Moonves held various top executive posts at CBS since 1995 -- when he joined as president of CBS Entertainment. In 2004, he became co-president and co-COO of Viacom Inc., which had acquired CBS. After the companies split on Dec. 31, 2005, Moonves became president and CEO of CBS.