Leslie Moonves’ successor list reportedly includes Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner as well as currently acting CEO Joe Ianniello. Goldner also serves as a CBS Corp. board member.
Ianniello seems to be the frontrunner, as he is already entrenched in the company and has deep knowledge of its inner workings. He has also been helming it for the past 5 months as the interim CEO. During that tenure, he’s made some key personnel moves that were well received bot in and out of the company. The most notable ones were the promotion of Susan Zirinsky to head of CBS News and moving Showtime’s David Nevins to chief content officer.
Meanwhile, Goldner’s been at the front of major toymaker Hasbro for the past eleven years. He joined the CBS board last September. While leading the Rhode Island company, he’s made the company enter the entertainment industry. Some notable Hasbro properties are Transformers and My Little Pony.
Tom Staggs and Anne Sweeney, both Disney alums (former COOT and former TV chief, respectively), surfaced as early contenders but have since fallen off the race. John Martin, a former Turner and Time Warner executive, is still in the running.
Both a representative of National Amusements Inc. and a CBS spokesmen declined requests for comment.
Ianniello was originally far removed from the conversation as he used to work shoulder-to-shoulder with disgraced former CEO Les Moonves all the way back since 2006. Moonves and Shari Redstone duked it out for control of the network last spring – and Ianniello’s name is recorded in the legal battle that derived from that as champion of the lawsuit strategy.
However, once the dust settled, Ianniello and Redstone seem to have found common ground and healthy rapport, which now places him as the leader in the selection race.