CBS Acting CEO Joseph Ianniello Issues Company-Wide Memo on Diversity and Inclusion Efforts

CBS Entertainment Diversity and Inclusion

CBS Entertainment Diversity and Inclusion

The chatter around the upcoming CBS and Viacom merger has been relatively quiet in the weeks since the companies made the announcement. But it appears as though behind the scenes, executives at both companies are preparing for the merger to go through, and readying their respective workforces for change.

A piece from Variety this week had current CBS Acting CEO Joe Ianniello issuing a company-wide memo to CBS employees affirming the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion...and explaining that the strategy will not change after the merger.

Quoting the memo: “As you all know, we will soon be joining forces with Viacom, another company that places great importance on diversity and inclusion, and understands the value it brings to business and culture. I have spoken with Bob Bakish, and we are aligned in this effort. I want you to know that in these months as we move toward the merger, we are not easing up on the pedal.”

Ianniello went on to explain that the company is investing in Human Resources and Diversity and Inclusion, in order to support their strategy. He also outlined a number of examples of steps that the company is taking to ensure their commitment is brought to life. For instance:

  • “Building an inclusion-centered curriculum for hiring managers”,

  • “Creating and delivering customized unconscious bias training for leaders to help [them] lead more effectively”, and 

  • “Holding leaders responsible for improved diversity and inclusion outcomes at all levels, and ensuring a diverse slate of candidates, particularly for senior-level positions”.

Variety noted that CBS has had its fair share of criticism in the past for underrepresenting minorities and people of color on screen, but that it has outperformed its competition in that arena in more recent history. Variety also noted that in April, they published a piece by former employee Whitney Davis titled, “CBS Has a White Problem”. While the company’s efforts are unlikely to improve its historical record, it is at least making a visible effort to improve.

This article was written for the podcast Daily Star Trek News.

Alison Pitt is the writer, producer, and host of Daily Star Trek News, on the Roddenberry Podcast Network. A veteran Star Trek podcaster, she started her career on the weekly show Priority One: A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast in 2015. She has appeared on panels at Star Trek Las Vegas, WonderCon, and San Diego Comic Con.

Alison Pitt