21st Century Fox confirmed this afternoon that Roger Ailes had stepped down as chairman and chief executive after 20 years. “Having spent 20 years building this historic business, 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 said in a letter to Rupert Murdoch obtained by The Drudge Report, which broke the story. “I am confident that everyone at Fox News and Fox Business will continue as the standard setters that they are, and that the businesses are well positioned for even greater success in the future.”
Rupert Murdoch will assume the role of chairman and acting chief executive of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network. “Roger Ailes has made a remarkable contribution to our company and our country,” said Murdoch in a statement. “Roger shared my vision of a great and independent television organization and executed it brilliantly over 20 great years.”
“To ensure continuity of all that is best about Fox News and what it stands for, I will take over as chairman and acting CEO, with the support of our existing management team under Bill Shine, Jay Wallace and Mark Kranz,” Murdoch said.
Ailes, in his letter, says he looks forward to serving as a consultant to 21st Century Fox, though that role is not mentioned in the company’s statement. The news of Ailes’ resignation comes just two weeks after former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes, which he called “false” and “defamatory.”
21st Century Fox began an internal investigation that reportedly led to other women saying they, too, had been harassed by Ailes, including Fox News star Megyn Kelly.
In a statement, Murdoch’s sons, James and Lachlan, said in a statement they would emphasize “a 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.”