The CBS board of directors is consolidating oversight of investigations into claims against CEO Les Moonves, CBS News and culture issues throughout CBS.
The law firm that management at CBS Corporation hired in March to investigate CBS News was expected to conclude its work this month. Its findings will now be folded into the efforts of two other law firms, CBS News staffers were told Tuesday. CBS News management was not aware of a timeline for the new investigation.
In March, CBS retained attorney Betsy Plevan of Proskauer Rose, months after a report last November in the Washington Post that led to the firing of Charlie Rose, co-host of "CBS This Morning."
Last week, CBS News president David Rhodes told staff the initial investigation was nearing an end. "In recent days we have been advised that the Proskauer investigation at the News Division is in high gear and is expected to return its conclusions this month," Rhodes said in a note to all news employees.
On Sunday, CBS News said "60 Minutes" chief Jeff Fager. "Having heard the investigation will be wrapping up soon, Jeff has decided to stay on vacation," a spokesperson said. CBS would not say when Fager would return. Fager has denied any wrongdoing.
Last week, the CBS board of directors said it had hired two firms to investigateon July 27. The law firms conducting the investigation will be Covington & Burling and Debevoise & Plimpton.
In an email to CBS staff on Monday, the board addressed the allegations.
"You are undoubtedly aware of the troubling allegations that have been made concerning sexual harassment and an inappropriate culture for women within CBS, including allegations directed at Leslie Moonves and the CBS News division," the email read.
It said the law firms would report directly to the board, as opposed to management. It also said that the team would create ways for employees to contribute information, with an option to remain anonymous.