The 75-year-old head of the cable news channel has expressed no desire to ever leave Fox News.
Fox News CEO Roger Ailes has signed a new multi-year contract to stay with the cable network, it was announced Thursday. Ailes will continue to serve as Chairman and CEO of Fox News and Fox Business Network and Chairman of Fox Television Stations.
The contract renewal comes after a whirlwind few weeks that began June 11 when CNBC broke the news that Rupert Murdoch would hand control of his media empire to his sons, with James Murdoch becoming CEO of 21st Century Fox and older brother Lachlan Murdoch becoming executive co-chairman, while 84-year-old Rupert would remain as executive co-chairman.
While the succession, which is effective July 1, 2015, had been anticipated, the timing of the news caught many at the company off guard, including Ailes. And minutes after the news broke, Ailes’ Fox Business Network reported that Ailes would continue to report to Rupert, not James.
The news flash, reported by anchor Stuart Varney, was refuted by the company when the succession became official in a June 16 announcement. “Roger will report to Lachlan and James but will continue his unique and long-standing relationship with Rupert,” 21st Century Fox spokesperson Nathaniel Brown said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
It was a highly public rebuke for Ailes, who has built Fox News into a media and cultural juggernaut valued at $15 billion. And it immediately set off speculation that the 75-year-old might leave the company he founded, one that is estimated to funnel $2.3 billion into 21st Century Fox coffers this year, according to SNL Kagan.
Ailes has always maintained an iron-fisted control of his domain. And he has always had a close relationship with Rupert Murdoch, who hired him in 1996 to create a cable news alternative to what Murdoch viewed as the media’s leftward tilt. But his relationship with James and Lachlan has been non-existent or strained.
“I don’t know them very well,” Ailes told THR in an April cover story, referring to James and Lachlan. “I don’t interact with them on a daily or even weekly basis.”
The announcement of Ailes’ new deal said the Fox News head will “jointly report” to Rupert, Lachlan and James Murdoch.
He also said he does not “have a lot of business discussions” even with Rupert. “He’s really been good to his word. He lets me run it, he doesn’t bother me much, if he has an idea he calls me, or if he’s troubled about something. Generally we’ve been very successful. He likes my leadership style, I think.”
Tellingly, Ailes also has resisted anointing a number two because, he said, “it creates chaos internally.” And he has expressed no desire to ever leave Fox News. “What would I do?”
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