CBS News president and co-head Neeraj Khemlani is reportedly facing an internal human resources review over multiple complaints about his management style.
This news was first reported by the New York Post on Thursday.
The review, led by a CBS corporate HR executive, began several months ago and is reportedly focused on how Khemlani speaks to women and staffers of color. The Post adds:
Prior to the investigation Khemlani had been subjected to a “360 performance review” by his bosses and direct reports. As a result, Khemlani was required to attend counseling in order to learn how to speak to employees “without sarcasm” while using “friendly body language,” multiple sources said. Staffers said that they noticed changes after the exec met with department heads over the summer to make sure he’s “communicating” clearly and that they “understand their roles.”
Khemlani’s boss and CBS CEO George Cheeks has, in the words of The Post, “privately voiced doubts to colleagues whether Khelmani is the right man for the job.” The Post added that Cheeks is “very worried” and that Khemlani may not get his contract renewed in 2024.
A number of CBS News staffers reportedly criticized Khemlani in a companywide survey taken last May. According to The Post, Cheeks responded to these criticisms at a June 2 CBS town hall meeting that the company “needs to prioritize work-life balance.”
Khemlani and fellow CBS News president and co-head Wendy McMahon (who is mainly in charge of CBS’ local news business and based out of LA) have since formed a “diversity and inclusion council” to “foster and cultivate a culture of belonging and well-being.” According to The Post, Khemlani stressed the importance of attracting “underrepresented employees” and said he would “go on a listening tour” and “get actionable advice” on how to improve the workplace.
That said, there are people inside the news division who do enjoy working with Khemlani and CBS News has seen growth in multiple areas with him in charge. He oversaw the launch of the CBS News Streaming Network; the rebrand of the network’s morning franchise to CBS Mornings, which, despite remaining in third place, is posting more growth among Adults 25-54 than its morning show competitors. With Khemlani in charge, the network has also scored significant scoops as of late, including Britney Griner‘s release from a Russian jail, the Prince Harry 60 Minutes interview, and most recently the President Biden classified documents story. Khemlani also garnered praise for hiring Washington Post journalist Robert Costa.
As of publication time, CBS News did not specifically comment on the New York Post’s reporting.
Khemlani re-joined CBS News as president and co-head in May 2021. He was previously a highly-regarded 60 Minutes producer for eight years before leaving CBS to become the head of Yahoo News. He later worked for A&E, History, Vice, ESPN, before making the move to Hearst and running the newspaper side of its business right before CBS hired him to lead its national news division.
This is a developing story …