CBS Shareholders Meeting Features No Talk of Corporate Drama

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Joseph Ianniello

No questions were asked by shareholders about a looming investigation into misconduct at CBS.

While protestors outside loudly lobbied for the CBS board of directors to deny even a penny of severance to former chairman and CEO Les Moonves, an ongoing investigation into misconduct went undiscussed during a meeting with company shareholders Tuesday morning.

A group of about 10 protestors were positioned outside the Museum of Modern Art building in midtown Manhattan, chanting that CBS' board of directors should "do the right thing" and deny Moonves a "golden parachute" following his acrimonious departure from the network in September.

One shareholder asked about the timeline for the selection of a permanent chairman and CEO of the company, which is being led on an interim basis by Joseph Ianniello, who was onstage. The questioner was told that a recruiting firm has been utilized for the search but that, "We don't have anything to announce now."

Ianniello was questioned about the success of the network's comedy lineup, which a shareholder suggested was performing poorly in the key demo. "I put our ratings up against anyone," he responded.

Ianniello was joined onstage by Strauss Zelnick, who was made the company's permanent chairman of the board Tuesday.

The CBS executives were also questioned by a former CBS News correspondent who said he was owed $14,000 in expenses from his time at the network in the 1970s and 1980s. Ianniello told Steve Patten he would be approached by a CBS representative who would set up a time to talk, and said the company would take the issue "very seriously."

One shareholder praised Dick Parsons, who resigned as the company's chairman of the board in October. "As Dick resigned, Strauss Zelnick is the next best choice of chairman of the board," the asset manager said.