Fox News Media CEO on Rising to the C-Suite and the Power of Collaboration

Suzanne Scott made TV history two years ago after being named CEO of Fox News, the second news chief since the network was founded in 1996 and the highest-ranking woman to run a broadcast or cable TV news organization. For Scott, who joined Fox News at its inception, it was a steady climb upward, taking programming, production and creative roles. Read on for some thoughtful advice on becoming the boss you want (and don’t) want to be, why collaboration is such an effective leadership tool, and the one woman who has been her inspiration from day one.

Tell us about what you are doing now.

2020 took off like a rocket. We were ready for it to be an extremely busy year given the Presidential election, but in January the Senate Impeachment hearings consumed most of the month. Then came February 2020. My mom passed away on February 16 after six weeks in hospice. I returned to work soon thereafter, and in late February my focus immediately turned to the coronavirus pandemic. My first priorities were both ensuring the health and safety of our employees and providing a public service to our viewers with informative coverage around the clock. Within a week of the onset of the crisis, we set up more than 40 remote studios, quickly added more informative programming and hired additional medical experts.

How did you get to where you are today?

I believe in collaboration and teamwork. I am very fortunate to work with an incredible team of people. Four years ago, we took giant steps forward to improve and expand our business and that would not have been possible without an extraordinary team all rowing together. Along the way, I’ve been encouraged to take risks and challenge conventional wisdom. I encourage our leaders to do the same, all the while supporting each other and the team.

What pivotal moments did you face along the way?

I have worked at FOX News for 24 years. Each year has brought new challenges that I have persevered through and learned from. Currently, the global pandemic has become a pivotal, defining moment. I am so proud of how quickly and nimbly everyone came together to keep all of our platforms on the air during such a crucial time with viewers sheltered in place and depending on us hourly. Leading FOX News Media during this crisis and putting the health and safety of our employees above everything has been one of my most formidable responsibilities and a profound moment in my career.

Additionally, after being named CEO of FOX News Media, one moment I am extremely proud of is transforming our business so that all staff, especially women would continue to be proud to work here. To that end, it was a priority for me to have a senior leadership team equally comprised of women. Hands down, we have one of the most inclusive and supportive environments in news media—and we did so while maintaining our industry dominance and creating new platforms.

What do you see as the major opportunities and challenges for women today?

“The more we have women secure a place in the boardroom, the more you will see female CEOs.”

While we are in one of the most inclusive eras in our history as a country, I am still one of a few women occupying the C-Suite. The more we have women secure a place in the boardroom, the more you will see female CEOs. Over the last four years, I have worked hard to help mentor and grow our next generation of women leaders. At FOX News Media, I promoted several women to SVP, EVP and President. We also have more women on air in prominent roles as hosts or anchors than any of our competitors. And I’ve implemented several new mentoring and networking initiatives to help ensure we are fostering growth for our most talented workforce. The women of today are smart and fearless with more opportunities to soar as long as we are working to provide them with the tools to capitalize on every available opportunity.

@lgranatstein lisa.granatstein@adweek.com Lisa Granatstein is the editor, svp, programming at Adweek.
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