As a subscriber to “NEWSBLUES” (a broadcasting e-newsletter) I learned today that CBS Corp. has signed a five year contract extension with their CEO, Les Moonves, to the tune of $3.5 million per year. That is not the part that causes me to question their judgment. That is just the beginning.
The Securities and Exchange Commission filing reveals that Moonves will additionally receive a bonus of up to $12 million this year, plus three million stock options valued at $45 million, plus another $9 million in restricted stock, plus $500,000 in construction and equipment costs, if he needs to do anything to his home that assists him in performing his job. Additionally, he is guaranteed a job after he leaves CBS as a senior advisor-producer for three years at $3 million per year.
Moonves married Julie Chen a few years ago. She is one of the CBS Morning News anchors and seems to work when she wants. Although nothing like Les’s, you can bet that her salary is substantial, too.
All this is happening as the broadcast industry tries to determine a way to establish a new and viable business model because the business has lost its once cash-cow status. Daily there are new competitive forces cutting into the revenue streams of all broadcast entities, and networks and local stations are cutting personnel in record numbers in an effort to maintain their bottom lines.
CBS continues to close news bureaus around the world and cut personnel levels to shockingly low levels, yet they expect their personnel and union employees to accept heavier work loads on a daily basis. CBS is not alone. Just last week ABC announced that massive cuts would be taking place in its News Division. The axe has also gone through the ranks of NBC News. The story is similar at local stations across the country.
How the management of CBS can have the audacity and the arrogance to pay Moonves such an outrageous sum of money is beyond any rhyme or reason. It is no wonder that the average Joe on the street looks down his nose at management of big corporations.
There are plenty of mid-size and large corporations that pay their highest levels of management reasonable salaries and base contracts on performance. There are also plenty of high level executives who have taken pay cuts when they have found their companies experiencing lay-offs or staff salary reductions. The CBS Board of Directors should be ashamed of itself, but then they, too, must be getting over-paid or they would never permit this travesty to occur. Stockholders should be in an uproar!
How can Moonves look his employees in the face or look at himself in the mirror? Your Commander says shame on CBS and Moonves for their arrogance and hypocrisy.
CBS must think they are immune from all logic, just like our politicians do in Washington.