Les Moonves
Les Moonves

Edelman is helping CBS Corp. handle the bombshell exit of 15-year CEO Les Moonves amid allegations of sexual harassment, revamp of its board of directors and agreement with majority shareholder Shari Redstone's National Amusements Inc.

Moonves is in line for a potential $120M severance package, of which he will earmark $20M to groups that support equality for women in the workplace.  

An independent investigation of Moonves' behavior and subsequent board evaluation of the report must be completed before he receives any severance comp.

COO since 2013, Joe Ianniello, a Moonves' deputy, will serve as acting CEO until the board, which is getting six new independent directors, finds a permanent replacement.

As part of the agreement, NAI has agreed not to pursue a merger deal between its Viacom and CBS properties for at least two years. 

It also reaffirmed a promise to "give good faith consideration" to any future merger/strategic alliance with CBS that wins the support of its independent directors.

Shari Redstone, NAI vice chair, said the settlement would benefit all stockholders, "allowing us to focus on the business of running CBS and transforming it for the future."

Edelman's Lex Suvanto and Laurie Hays support CBS executive VP/CCO Gil Schwartz and his team handle media regarding the CBS revamp.

WPP's Finsbury unit has Sara Evans and Kerry Golds working the media for NAI.