(CN) — Fox News Channel CEO Roger Ailes is resigning, the station’s parent company, 21st Century Fox announced Thursday afternoon.
In a statement, the cable-news network’s corporate parent said Rupert Murdoch will take over supervision of the network as its interim chariman and chief executive.
“Roger Ailes has made a remarkable contribution to our company and our country,” the statement said, attributed the comments to Murdoch. “Roger shared my vision of a great and independent television organization and executed it brilliantly over 20 great years.”
Murdoch addressed the Fox News newsroom at 1211 Avenue of the Americas in New York City just after 4 p.m.
Although there has been no official word on what kind of departure package Ailes will receive, several reports suggest he’s walking out the door with at least $60 million and a title consultant to 21st Century Fox until 2018. The same reports say Ailes moved out of his office at Fox News headquarters this morning and he’s been given an office in another 21st Century Fox building in New York.
Murdoch told the Fox News staff that in order to ensure continuity, the existing management staff of Bill Shine, Jay Wallace and Mark Kranz will be retained.
It is believed that Saudi Prince Al-Waleed, 21st Century Fox’s second largest shareholder, will be consulted on Ailes succession.
.Ailes’ downfall began with the July 6 filing of a lawsuit by Gretchen Carlson, who charged that Ailes sabotaged her career because she refused his suggestions for sex.
The eight-page complaint in Bergen County Superior Court says Ailes fired Carlson and “sabotaged her career” because she complained about workplace harassment and refused his sexual advances.
Ailes, who is a resident of Cresskill, New Jersey, blasted the lawsuit as retaliatory.
He said Fox did not renew Carlson’s contract simply because “her disappointingly low ratings were dragging down the afternoon lineup.”
“Ironically, Fox News provided her with more on-air opportunities over her 11-year tenure than any other employer in the industry, for which she thanked me in her recent book,” Ailes said in a statement. “This defamatory lawsuit is not only offensive, it is wholly without merit and will be defended vigorously.”
A series of sexual-harassment allegations had been leveled against him over the years.
In the wake of Carlson’s lawsuit, New York magazine dredged up more allegations involving Ailes and the channel’s biggest female star, Megyn Kelly, going back to the mid-2000s, when she was just a reporter at the network.
Kelly has not spoken publicly about the allegations against her boss.
Ailes’ departure from Fox News brings to an end an era at a television network (He also oversaw the Fox Business channel) that has become hugely influential in political circles and the daily news cycle.
Murdoch’s sons, Lachlan Murdoch and James Murdoch, 21st Century Fox’s executive chairman and CEO, respectively, released a joint statement that said “We join our father in recognizing Roger’s remarkable contributions to our company.”
“Our talented Fox News and Fox Business colleagues, up and down the organization and on both sides of the camera, have built something that continues to redefine the cable news experience for millions of viewers,” the statement continued. “We are enormously proud of their accomplishments. For them, as well as for our colleagues across our entire organization, 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.” – Developing story.
FILE – In a Sept. 29, 2006 file photo, Fox News CEO Roger Ailes poses at Fox News in New York. 21st Century Fox says Ailes is resigning. The announcement comes amid charges by former anchor Gretchen Carlson, who claims she was fired after refusing his sexual advances. (AP Photo/Jim Cooper, File)
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