Two company veterans tapped to lead Fox News after Ailes' exit

Fri Aug 12, 2016 4:43pm EDT
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By Anna Driver

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Rupert Murdoch on Friday named company veterans Jack Abernethy and Bill Shine as co-presidents to lead Fox News after Chief Executive Officer Roger Ailes resigned last month following sexual harassment allegations.

Abernethy is CEO of Fox Television Stations and Shine is senior executive vice president at Fox, a unit of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (FOXA.O: Quote).

Both men worked at Fox when it launched in 1996. They will report to Murdoch, who has been running the day-to-day operations of the cable network on an interim basis. The appointments are effective immediately, Fox said.

“While this has been a time of great transition, there has never been a greater opportunity for Fox News and Fox Business to better serve and expand their audiences," Murdoch, executive chairman of 21st Century Fox and Fox News, said in a statement.

Ailes, who turned Fox into America's most lucrative and powerful cable news channel for conservatives, resigned in July following allegations of sexual harassment.

Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson sued Ailes last month, claiming sexual harassment. Ailes has denied the charges. Fox hired a law firm to conduct an internal investigation.

New York magazine followed up with reports of other women who said they had been harassed by Ailes. The magazine also said popular Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly had told investigators hired by Fox that Ailes "made unwanted sexual advances toward her" about 10 years ago. Ailes has denied those charges as well.

By choosing two men who worked under Ailes for years, Fox sent viewers and advertisers a message of continuity in an important election year, said Merrill Brown, who helped launch MSNBC and is now director of the school of communication at Montclair State University.   Continued...

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch leaves his home in London, Britain March 4, 2016. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth