Leslie R. “Les” Moonves
CBS President & CEO
Net worth: $700 million
As CBS stock did a free fall Friday July 27 in advance of a New Yorker magazine exposé on alleged sexual misconduct by it’s 68-year-old CEO Leslie R. “Les” Moonves, the silver haired TV executive fixture was still rich. Very rich.
Moonves, who has been at CBS for more than two decades, has made all the highest paid CEO lists that exist. And he doesn’t mind bragging about the company and the money it makes.
Here’s what you need to know about Moonves and his money:
1. Born in New York City, Raised in Long Island, Moonves Went Into Acting, Wasn’t Very Good & Switched Over to the Business Side of Show Business
Moonves graduated from Valley Stream High School in Long Island and moved to the city to study acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre. He landed some TV gigs including the Six Million Dollar Man, Cannon, Dollar Man and Blue Rodeo, according to his IMDb page. Maybe he was good, but for Moonves, he saw himself on the other side of the camera …in a suit.
From 1989 to 1993 Moonves was Lorimar Television chief. In 1993 he took over as president at Warner Bros. TV. In 1995, Moonves landed at CBS and never left. Starting as CBS Entertainment President Moonves in a few years was named president and CEO of CBS Television in 1998, where he’s remained. He was also elected to the CBS board in 1999.
2. With CBS for 23 Years, Moonves Has Been Among the Highest Paid CEO’s in the World & Certainly in the Entertainment Industry
At Warner, Moonves developed “Friends” and “ER,” which is likely part of the reason CBS grabbed him up; those shows were mega-hits.
And Moonves has been credited with launching some of CBS’ best TV: “Everybody Loves Raymond;” “Survivor;” and “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” among the shows with top ratings overseen by Moonves.
But it’s not just TV. CBS’ reach goes beyond broadcast television. Think Showtime, CBS Radio, and legendary publishing house Simon & Schuster. In 2014 he made $57 million. He was the op entertainment CEO in Crain’s Fortunate 100 CEO’s 2016 report.
Bloomberg reported that S&P 500 calculated of its companies, in 2016, CBS’ Moonves took home around $54 million; $3.5 million in salary, $32 million in cash, $18 million in stock a hair under $1.2 million in “other” compensation. No clue.
In 2012, Moonves was paid $60 million and was the highest-paid CEO of S&P 500 companies with chief executives, it was reported.
3. Speculation on Moonves Being Ousted, by CBS or Its Biggest Shareholder, Had Tongues Wagging. Either Way, He’d Still land comfortably & Then Some
It was figured that if majority CBS shareholder Shari Redstone fired Moonves, he’d walk away with $280 million. https://www.businessinsider.com/cbs-ceo-les-moonves-could-make-up-to-280-million-if-fired-over-merger-report-2018-4
What if CBS itself fired him, as was chatted about Friday in advance of an expose from The New Yorker about alleged sexual misconduct allegations against the 68-year-old. CBS issued a statement before the piece was even published saying it would be looking into the allegations. And there was a tremor on Twitter about a possible firing.
4. Moonves Bought Microsoft Co-founder Paul Allen’s Malibu House for $28 Million
A celebrity real estate website reported Moonves and his wife TV personality Julie Chen bought one Malibu mansion in 2008 for $10 million and sold it for nearly $12 million in 2016. In the meantime, Moonves paid $28 million in ‘14 for the Malibu crib previously owned by Microsoft’s co-founder Paul Allen.
Moonves also has a $14 million house in Bel-Air and an mutli-million-dollar apartment in New York City.
5. Moonves Was Thrilled With the 2016 Election & Donald Trump for the Cash the ‘Circus’ Brought Into CBS
The Hollywood Reporter quoted Moonves as saying Trump and the election of 2016 “…may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS,” referring to the ad dollars reaped by coverage.
He described the campaign as a carnival of “bomb throwing.”
“Most of the ads are not about issues. They’re sort of like the debates. Man, who would have expected the ride we’re all having right now? … The money’s rolling in and this is fun. I’ve never seen anything like this, and this going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It’s a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going,” he was quoted as saying.
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