The agreement should calm, but probably won’t end, debates over how the Fox News chief will fare once Rupert Murdoch hands the CEO title over to his son James and elevates his other son, Lachlan, to Executive Co-Chairman. Roger Ailes has signed a “multi-year contract” to continue running Fox News, Fox Business Network, and Fox Television Stations, 21st Century Fox says this morning.
More to the point: Ailes will report jointly to all three Murdochs. Other Fox operations will report to James and Lachlan beginning July 1 when the leadership change takes place, with Rupert remaining as the other Executive Co-Chairman.
“Roger and I have always had, and will continue to have, a special relationship,” Rupert says in a statement. “Lachlan, James and I are delighted that Roger will be leading key businesses for us and our shareholders for years to come, and he has our unwavering support.”
When word of the new management arrangement spread, Ailes told Variety that he expected that he would continue to report to Rupert. But the formal announcement last week did not mention any exceptions in the new reporting structure to James and Lachlan. That was noteworthy: Ailes’ contract was due to expire soon, and he had tangled with Lachlan a decade ago when he was deputy COO. Fox News is one of the company’s most profitable businesses.
Ailes says he’s “grateful to Rupert Murdoch for taking the risk on Fox News to see it become the number one 24-hour news network in America. I look forward to working with Rupert, Lachlan and James to do my part to help bring 21st Century Fox well into the future.”
In a joint statement, Lachlan and James called Ailes “an incredibly talented executive and we’re pleased he has accepted our offer to continue his extraordinary record of success at 21st Century Fox. We look forward to witnessing his energy and entrepreneurial drive in leading the next wave of growth for Fox News, Fox Business Network and Fox Television Stations, as well as many years of continued success together.”