CBS has named a new boss at CBS News following the exit of co-president Neeraj Khemlani, who was fired from the network amid a slew of HR complaints from employees.
Wendy McMahon, who has served as co-president of CBS News alongside Khemlani for the past two years, will take on a larger role as president and chief executive of CBS News and Stations and CBS Media Ventures, CBS said in a Monday statement.
The announcement comes a day after The Post broke the news that Khemlani was ousted from the Tiffany Network after a tumultuous two-year reign that was marked with clashes with “CBS Evening News” anchor Norah O’Donnell over her contract and HR complaints of alleged “bullying,” “rude” behavior.
On Monday morning, Khemlani dialed in to CBS’ morning editorial call to say a brief farewell, telling employees he was “proud” of the work he did at the network, an insider told The Post.
In the expanded role, McMahon will lead all of CBS News’ broadcast and streaming operations, 27 local television stations in major US markets, 14 local news streaming channels and CMV’s first-run syndication programming, as well as its content licensing to television stations and the division’s national advertising sales business, CBS said.
McMahon, who joined CBS in 2021 from ABC, where she was the president of its TV Stations group, will continue to report to CBS CEO George Cheeks.
During the network’s noon Zoom meeting, McMahon announced that she was elevating 30-year CBS veteran Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews to the role of CBS News president.
The exec, who most recently served as executive vice president for newsgathering, will have editorial oversight for CBS News across all platforms, the company said Monday.
Ciprian-Matthews, who has been passed over for the role of CBS News president in recent years, has held several senior editorial roles, from Washington bureau chief to the London bureau and overseeing coverage of presidential election coverage, international conflicts, natural disasters, political events and terrorist attacks.
McMahon touted Ciprian-Matthews’ commitment to the network’s “journalism and to the people and culture of CBS News.”
Ciprian-Matthews added: “It is a true privilege to make sure we continue our mission long into the future — with integrity in our reporting and a firm commitment to the values, the culture and the wonderful people of CBS News.”
Khemlani’s downfall comes after The Post reported on July 30 that the exec blew up at chief financial officer Stacey Benson and another female executive on her team during a budget meeting in April.
Since taking the reins in May 2021, Khemlani — a former Hearst executive — has been under “immense pressure” from Cheeks to hit certain budget numbers, insiders said. He immediately clashed with O’Donnell over contract matters, The Post reported.
Khemlani’s combustible temper, meanwhile, translated to plunging morale among CBS News staffers, who at the time described their boss as “rude” and “micro-managing.” As previously reported by The Post, those complaints have led to a larger internal review headed by CBS corporate HR exec Whitney Delich.
The review, which began in 2022, was focused on how Khemlani speaks to women and employees of color.
Prior to the probe, Singapore-born Khemlani had been subjected to a “360 performance review” by his bosses and direct reports, which resulted in mandatory counseling on how to speak to employees “without sarcasm” while using “friendly body language,” multiple sources said at the time.
Meanwhile, Khemlani had been under a directive from Cheeks to slash costs and restructure the network, in what some see as a possible path to spin off the network as its parent, Paramount Global — which also owns Paramount Pictures, Showtime, MTV and Nickelodeon, among others — focuses on streaming.
In addition to layoffs, CBS under Cheeks has sold its headquarters in the iconic “Black Rock” tower in Midtown Manhattan. It also sold the CBS Studio Center in Los Angeles. It is trying to sell CBS’ sprawling broadcast center on Manhattan’s West Side.
Paramount Global boss Bob Bakish, too, has pushed to sell off non-core assets like storied book publisher Simon & Schuster and its BET Group, which owns BET (Black Entertainment Television) and VH1 along with the BET+ streaming service.
Last week, the company sold Simon & Schuster to private equity firm KKR for $1.62 billion, months after a federal judge blocked its purchase by rival publisher Penguin Random House for $2.2 billion because of antitrust concerns.
The sale process for BET is ongoing.