According to the CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS) proxy, departing CEO Les Moonves made just shy of $200 million over the past three years. Some would say he earned it, based on the CBS results. Others would say sexual harassment claims against Moonves should have triggered his departure years ago, although they have only come to light in the past several months.
Moonves’s total haul over the three years was $196 million. Most of the money came in bonus payments and stock option awards. Moonves’s base salary each year was $3.5 million.
Several media reports say that Moonves will receive nothing as he leaves CBS because of the accusations. If the charges prove wrong, he could be paid some of his compensation. Early reports were that he was negotiating for a $100 million exit package. New allegations gave the board leverage to eliminate that payout.
Advocates for Moonves’s past pay would say he helped CBS stay as one of the premier entertainment companies in the United States. However, the company’s stock price would be an argument against his extravagant payout. Over the past five years, CBS shares are flat. The S&P 500 was up 68% in that time. Moonves may have done a good job with earnings, but investors have reason to be upset about the nearly $200 million he earned.
Moonves’s career as a public company CEO is over. He may start other ventures after he leaves. Large company CEOs often find success with their own ventures. Even so, Moonves leaves disgraced and without a severance that might have been close to the extraordinary $196 million he has earned over the past three years.