Following sexual harassment allegations from reportedly more than 20 women, and a flurry of media speculation, embattled network chief Roger Ailes has finally officially resigned from his role as chairman and CEO of Fox News.
With Ailes gone, Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of parent company 21st Century Fox, is stepping in to run the cable news network he founded roughly 20 years ago. (Murdoch is also executive chairman of News Corp.)
21st Century Fox announced the leadership change in a statement on Thursday (July 21). Murdoch will serve as chairman and acting CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network effective immediately, the company said.
The media mogul reportedly addressed the Fox News newsroom in New York City about the shift shortly after the statement was made.
Murdoch thanked Ailes in the statement for “over 20 great years,” and said he is taking the reigns ”to ensure continuity of all that is best about Fox News and what it stands for.”
Ailes was reportedly ousted from the network’s Manhattan headquarters earlier in the day. But he is expected to remain on as a consultant through 2018, reported Matt Drudge, founder of the Drudge Report.
As part of Ailes’ termination agreement, a draft of which was leaked earlier this week, Ailes will reportedly walk away with a golden parachute worth roughly $60 million, reported Gabriel Sherman, a New York Magazine writer and editor, and Ailes’ autobiographer.
Murdoch’s sons, Lachlan and James, who serve as co-chairman and CEO of the company, respectively, said in the statement that ”we continue our commitment to maintaining a work environment based on trust and respect.”
Ailes, who is 76, was accused in a July lawsuit of making sexual comments to and advances upon former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson, who claims she was fired after refusing his advances. Since then, other women who claim they were propositioned or otherwise harassed by Ailes have come forward, including the news anchor Megyn Kelly, and one woman who was allegedly asked if she was wearing panties while jumping on a trampoline at a company barbecue.
21st Century Fox launched an internal review after the lawsuit was filed against Ailes. And, earlier this week, reports surfaced that James wanted to give Ailes the option to step down or be fired this week, while his father and brother preferred to hold off until this week’s Republican National Convention was over.
With the press buzzing and convention drawing to a close, Ailes tendered his resignation.
“I will not allow my presence to become a distraction from the work that must be done every day to ensure that Fox News and Fox Business continue to lead our industry,” Ailes wrote in a letter to Murdoch obtained by the Drudge Report.