Richard Parsons Appointed Interim Chairman at CBS

Richard Parsons-Getty Image-H-2018
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The former CEO of AOL Time Warner orchestrated the unraveling of the ill-fated merger of Time Warner and AOL.

Richard Parsons has been named chairman of the CBS board on an interim basis, replacing Leslie Moonves, who stepped aside Sept. 9 after multiple accusations of sexual misconduct that the former CEO has denied.

Parsons, the former CEO of AOL Time Warner who orchestrated the unraveling of the ill-fated merger of Time Warner and AOL, was added to the CBS board of directors in April when vice chairman Shari Redstone was pushing a merger of Viacom and CBS.

"We have a distinguished and independent board that is steadfast in its commitment to serve the best interests of all shareholders," Parsons said Tuesday after being elevated to chairman.

"I think I speak for all board members when I say I look forward to learning more about CBS' compelling opportunities and how we can help guide and support the company's growth," he added.

CBS also said Tuesday that Bruce Gordon, a former CEO of the NAACP, and William Cohen, a former U.S. defense secretary, will step down as directors. Cohen and Gordon have been board members since 2006, when CBS split from Viacom to become a stand-alone company.

Beyond his numerous roles at Time Warner, Parsons is a former CEO of the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers and a former CEO of Dime Bancorp. He also serves as a director of The Estee Lauder Companies, Lazard Ltd and The Madison Square Garden Co. and he's on the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Moonves was removed as CEO on Sept. 9 and former COO Joe Ianniello was promoted to interim CEO. Some insiders and Wall Street analysts have speculated that Parsons would eventually be made permanent CEO, then in about two years merge CBS into Viacom, with the combined company being run by Viacom CEO Robert Bakish while Parsons retires.