CBS News head resigns weeks after investigation into alleged 'tirade' against two female executives

 August 14, 2023

Mediaite reported on Sunday that CBS News chief Neeraj Khemlani has announced he will be stepping down. 

According to the website, Khemlani laid out his plans to depart in a memorandum sent out to staff over the weekend.

Khemlani was under investigation by human resources department

"We maintained the #1 position of our iconic weekend programs, successfully developed and launched business plans to grow digital revenue that will sustain CBS News for the next generation, and elevated and promoted so many of the people who work here day after day to deliver on our journalistic mission," Khemlani's memo stated.

"I'm so proud of what all of you have accomplished — the scores of journalistic wins, the superb storytelling, the creativity that enhanced every aspect of our programming — that has put this division on a stronger path forward," he insisted.

Khemlani's departure comes just over two weeks after the New York Post reported that he was under investigation by CBS' human resources department.

Alleged tirade directed against female executives

The investigation was said to stem from a "tirade" directed towards Chief Financial Officer Stacey Benson and a female executive vice earlier this spring.

An unnamed inside source was quoted as telling the Post that the two women experienced "a breakdown" and were left "shaken" after the encounter with Khemlani.

The source went on to state that following complaints filed by both women, the network tasked senior vice president of human resources Mehmet Dilsiz with overseeing Khemlani's conduct.

What's more, the Post described Khemlani's alleged conduct as a "black eye" for CBS CEO George Cheeks, who elevated Khemlani in 2021 despite ambivalence from Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish.

Wendy McMahon expected to take over

The Post noted that Khemlani and Wendy McMahon were chosen to replace former CBS News head Susan Zirinsky, a "legendary" producer on whom the 1987 film "Broadcast News" was based.

"George Cheeks doesn’t want to admit a mistake," another source told the newspaper. "He’s going to have to go to Bob Bakish and admit he made a mistake," the source continued, adding that Khemlani will need to be paid out.

The Post also cited "insiders" as speculating that McMahon will go from running CBS News' affiliates and local news stations to take full control of the network.

That possibility is supported by a series of meetings that were said to have occurred in New York two months ago between McMahon and other executives.

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