Interim CBS CEO to Staff: "No Reason to Wait on Reassessing Our Culture"

Courtesy of CBS
Joseph Ianniello

Acting CBS CEO Joe Ianniello emailed an update on the company's culture to employees on Monday.

Joe Ianniello, who was named acting CEO of CBS after the departure of Leslie Moonves, emailed employees on Monday with an update on his efforts to improve the company's culture, starting with a listening tour.

"To get things started, as some of you have already seen, I have begun visiting with each of our business units," the exec wrote in the memo, which was obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. "Over these first few weeks in my new role, I will continue to spend time talking, and more importantly listening, to as many of you as possible. I want to find out quickly and clearly what inspires you about your part of the business, what challenges you, and what obstacles you think we face."

Ianniello continued: "At the heart of these visits is a chance to learn from frank discussions about our culture. For many people, CBS has been and remains a great place to work. The goal now is to turn 'many people' into 'everyone.' All of us should feel CBS is a safe, equitable and inclusive place to work, where every employee is treated with dignity and respect. It doesn’t matter if you’re an intern or the CEO; every voice must be heard, and no one is above the standards we set."

Ianniello told employees that an outside investigation into the company's culture, conducted by two law firms, is "ongoing." But, he said, "there is no reason to wait on reassessing our culture. It’s incumbent on all of us right now to be a part of this opportunity we have in front of us. As we do, we will strengthen our workplace and strive to become pioneers in this area that is so crucial to our success."

On Sept. 10, the day after Moonves' exit was announced, Ianniello in a memo pledged to his employees "a safe and positive working environment."

The latest memo is below.

I am reaching out to let you know that focusing on the culture of our workplace is – and will continue to be – a personal commitment of mine, as we transition to a new era here at CBS. This is a priority I share with each member of our Board of Directors, which is united in its pursuit to help move us forward in this regard, now and in the future.

To get things started, as some of you have already seen, I have begun visiting with each of our business units. Over these first few weeks in my new role, I will continue to spend time talking, and more importantly listening, to as many of you as possible. I want to find out quickly and clearly what inspires you about your part of the business, what challenges you, and what obstacles you think we face.

At the heart of these visits is a chance to learn from frank discussions about our culture. For many people, CBS has been and remains a great place to work. The goal now is to turn “many people” into “everyone.” All of us should feel CBS is a safe, equitable and inclusive place to work, where every employee is treated with dignity and respect. It doesn’t matter if you’re an intern or the CEO; every voice must be heard, and no one is above the standards we set.

This new day is about more than words; it’s about action. We will allocate new resources across the Corporation that I believe will lead to clear improvements, including reimagined training techniques and new mechanisms for reporting workplace issues, without any fear of retribution. As we learn more, we will also bring to bear the tremendous power of the CBS Television Network, as well as SHOWTIME, All Access and other platforms we operate to heighten social awareness. Stay tuned for more communication on these and other initiatives.

Meanwhile, the investigation being conducted by the two outside law firms is ongoing. Once it’s complete, we are going to act on its findings and recommendations. But there is no reason to wait on reassessing our culture. It’s incumbent on all of us right now to be a part of this opportunity we have in front of us. As we do, we will strengthen our workplace and strive to become pioneers in this area that is so crucial to our success.

There continues to be tremendous strength in this Company – and the root of that strength is all of you. There are things we can do immediately, and there are things that will take more time. We will and should have a diversity of opinions, appreciating that no two people will see things the same way. The common goal is to come together to make a positive impact on our future. We want to be the very best content company, and we want to be the greatest place to work.