Roger Ailes, the CEO and chairman of Fox News, is stepping down from his role. Rupert Murdoch will be taking over as chairman and acting CEO.
Ailes “has resigned from his role effective immediately,” according to a statement from parent company 21st Century Fox.
According to officials at the company, the arrangement precludes Ailes from working for other competitor networks or news organizations or from disparaging the Murdochs or 21st Century Fox as a result of his departure, NPR’s David Folkenflik reports. He will serve as an adviser to Rupert Murdoch during the leadership transition from Ailes to Murdoch, though Ailes is not technically considered a consultant to the corporation, David says.
Ailes has been accused of sexual harassment in a lawsuit by former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson. Multiple women have stepped forward with similar allegations — including high-profile anchor Megyn Kelly, according to New York magazine. Ailes denies the allegations.
In a statement, Murdoch did not mention the accusations against Ailes. He celebrated Ailes’ “grasp of policy and his ability to make profoundly important issues accessible to a broader audience” and praised his “remarkable contribution” to Fox News.
Murdoch’s sons Lachlan and James, the chairman and CEO of 21st Century Fox, tacitly acknowledged the allegations when they wrote, “we continue our commitment to maintaining a work environment based on trust and respect. We take seriously our responsibility to uphold these traditional, long-standing values of our company.”
David has more on the major players involved in the reshuffling at Fox News:
“Ailes, 76, is the visionary behind the channel’s winning formula. It is an Ailesian alchemy of conservative ideology, fast-paced reporting, highly sexed and confrontational presentation of debate, patriotic fervor and grievance.
“Rupert Murdoch is the man who founded it, and he is in the slow process of transitioning the control of the parent company over to his sons. Lachlan and James serve as News Corp. co-chairman and CEO of 21st Century Fox, respectively, and they have little affection for Ailes, who treated them with contempt earlier in their careers. …
“There is no clear successor to run the network once Ailes leaves. [Bill] Shine, the senior programming executive, does not command the same level of respect from the Murdochs, while the former top news executive, Michael Clemente, was recently sidelined by Ailes. James Murdoch in particular is known to favor a model more like the Murdochs’ Sky News in Britain, which is lively but less openly political. And the Murdoch sons would like the company to reflect what they believe are more 21st century values.”