Roger Ailes has signed a new four-year contract to remain chairman and CEO of Fox News and chairman of Fox Television Stations. The positions oversee multiple Fox properties, including Fox News, Fox Business Network, Twentieth Television and MyNetworkTV.
Ailes has been a polarizing figure in his years at News Corp., where he's the third-highest-paid executive behind Rupert Murdoch (whom he will continue to serve as senior advisor) and COO Chase Carey. He's led Fox News to total ratings dominance of its chief competitors, CNN and MSNBC, and he's given the network's conservative commentators (including bestselling authors Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity) a platform for a firebreathing style of opinion programming that proved as popular on linear cable as it had become on talk radio.
But Ailes himself is also frequently the center of attention. One of the milder examples from his last contract term: the exec called NPR brass "Nazis" (a statement he later retracted) when the radio network canned Juan Williams in 2010 for admitting that he was uncomfortable sitting on a plane with Muslims; Ailes promptly hired Williams as a commentator on a nearly $2 million contract for three years with Fox News.
Ailes is reportedly doing pretty well in the compensation department: he received $9 million—cash—for the fiscal year ending in June, largely as a thank-you from the company for the continued success of Fox News, which contributed some 40 percent of News Corp's profits in 2011. Ailes's base salary for his current contract (which is set to expire this coming summer) is $5 million annually plus a bonus of $1.5 million, which he has earned each year for several years.
The executive has been at News Corp. since 1996—the year Fox News launched.