Les Moonves has replaced Sumner Redstone atop CBS

Les Moonves takes over as CBS Chairman

CBS and Viacom’s controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone is stepping down from his executive chairman role at CBS Corporation. He will be replaced by CBS CEO Leslie Moonves.

The 92-year-old former leader will be given the title of chairman emeritus of CBS, according to an announcement made by the company on Wednesday afternoon.

As the newly-named chairman, Moonves, 66, will remain CEO and president of CBS.

Redstone, who is also the executive chairman at Viacom, recently had his salary cut from $13 million per year to $2 million.

It has been alleged that Redstone is in failing health. In recent months his competency has been repeatedly challenged in court.

Court papers filed by an ex-girlfriend last fall described Redstone as a “living ghost” who is incapable of making decisions for himself.

Manuela Herzer described him as “vacant, expressionless and out of touch.” She said he was basically unable to talk and “cannot walk or stand by himself.”

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman, who replaced Herzer as Redstone’s agent in an “advance health care directive” document, denied those allegations.

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Herzer alleged that Redstone “lacked the mental capacity” to make that change. The directive document showed Redstone’s name signed with an illegible scrawl.

Herzer’s case has faced some setbacks in court, but last month a judge ordered Redstone to undergo a one-hour mental exam to determine his competency.

With Redstone failing to answer to those allegations, investors at Viacom have called for his resignation from the chairmanship of the company.

CBS said the process to appoint Moonves was led by Redstone’s daughter Shari, the vice chair of the CBS board of directors, after her father resigned.

She said in a statement, “I have been fortunate to work with Les and he has clearly established himself as a creative and effective leader who understands both the challenges and the opportunities that are shaping today’s media landscape. I am sure he will make a great Chair and I look forward to working with him for many years to come.”

Written by John Howard

John Howard

John Howard is the Business Editor at BusinessPundit.com. He is an avid watcher of markets, a wallflower of retail, and a fan of disruptive businesses that utilize technology and unique ideas to form brilliant new ways of doing business.