The executive who butted heads with cable and satellite operators over the last 20 years to secure distribution for Fox News is leaving the company — possibly clearing the way for it to be more closely tied to the Fox Networks Group.

Fox News EVP Distribution Tim Carry is departing, offering thanks to “our distribution partners and advertisers who long ago believed in our vision of ‘news re-defined’ both in style and substance, making the news category accessible and engaging to so many more pay TV viewers.”

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Fox News

Carry joined Fox News in March 1996, a few months ahead of its launch. The company had to battle to win carriage from cable operators who had backed CNN — which was in the process of being acquired by Time Warner.

Since then, Fox News and Fox Business Network, introduced in 2007, have become major financial drivers for parent 21st Century Fox. The services are worth $14 billion, about 15.7% of  Fox’s total value, Morgan Stanley’s Benjamin Swinburne estimated last month.

“While we would love for him to continue here and worked hard to convince him to stay, we respect his decision and are grateful for his immense dedication in making Fox News an incredibly powerful asset,” Fox News co-presidents Jack Abernethy and Bill Shine said in a joint statement.

They credit Carry’s “sharp negotiating skills” with helping to secure “the best rates in the industry.”

Carry’s sharp skills often required him to also have sharp elbows. Over the last few years he led PR attacks on distributors including Charter Communications and Dish Network in contract disputes over the rates they’d pay for Fox News.

Carry’s departure is the latest of several changes the network has seen since July 21 when Fox co-executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch and CEO James Murdoch cut the network’s founding chief Roger Ailes loose following a string of sexual harassment charges. Rupert Murdoch, Fox’s co-executive chairman, took charge of Fox News.

The company reached a settlement with former Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson to end her sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes — and apologized for the discriminatory treatment she said she experienced from him and others.