Fox News chief gets new con­tract

Roger Ailes will re­port to Ru­pert Mur­doch and his sons af­ter power trans­fer.

Los Angeles Times - - COMPANY TOWN - By Stephen Battaglio stephen.battaglio@latimes.com

NEW YORK — Fox News chief Roger Ailes has signed a new mul­ti­year con­tract to re­main with 21st Cen­tury Fox.

Ailes, 75, will re­port to Ru­pert Mur­doch and his sons Lach­lan and James once the ex­ec­u­tive man­age­ment changes go into ef­fect at 21st Cen­tury Fox on July 1. Ailes will be the only di­vi­sion head at the com­pany to re­port to all three Mur­dochs.

Ru­pert Mur­doch will be­come ex­ec­u­tive co- chair­man for the com­pany, Lach­lan Mur­doch will be ex­ec­u­tive co- chair­man and James Mur­doch will be chief ex­ec­u­tive. Although the move be­gins a trans­fer of power to Ru­pert Mur­doch’s sons, the el­der Mur­doch is ex­pected to re­main ac­tive in the com­pany’s oper­a­tions.

Ailes’ fu­ture with the com­pany be­came the sub­ject of spec­u­la­tion as a re­sult of the moves. His last con­tract as chair­man and chief ex­ec­u­tive of Fox News and Fox Busi­ness and chair­man of Fox Tele­vi­sion Sta­tions was set to ex­pire in 2016, and his re­la­tion­ship with Mur­doch’s sons was re­port­edly strained.

When the new man­age­ment struc­ture was f irst re­ported, Fox Busi­ness Net­work made a point of say­ing Ailes would con­tinue to re­port to Ru­pert Mur­doch. The for­mal an­nounce­ment that fol­lowed con­tra­dicted that re­port, say­ing Ailes would re­port to James and Lach­lan Mur­doch.

The Thurs­day an­nounce­ment of Ailes’ deal ap­pears to smooth over any dif­fer­ences there might have been over the re­port­ing struc­ture. Ailes was un­doubt­edly helped by the strong f inan­cial per­for­mance of Fox News, a unit that he es­sen­tially built from scratch in 1996. Last year it ac­counted for 18% of 21st Cen­tury Fox’s profit. At the very least, it prob­a­bly guar­an­tees Ailes a com­fort­able para­chute if changes are made down the road.

“He cre­ated a hugely suc­cess­ful and prof­itable net­work, and the Mur­dochs needed to keep him happy,” said Joe Pey­ron­nin, an as­so­ciate jour­nal­ism pro­fes­sor at Hof­s­tra Univer­sity who served as a news ex­ec­u­tive at sev­eral net­works, in­clud­ing Fox.

When James Mur­doch, speak­ing at the Cannes Lions fes­ti­val, was asked if he agreed with the con­ser­va­tive pol­i­tics es­poused by some of the hosts on Fox News, he said, “I don’t let my pol­i­tics get in­volved in my busi­ness,” ac­cord­ing to the Guardian.

The move to keep Ailes was warmly re­ceived in­side Fox News and Fox Busi­ness, where the ex­ec­u­tive is known for be­ing fiercely loyal to his on- air tal­ent.

“In my opin­ion, that’s a very good thing for this net­work and for Amer­ica,” Fox Busi­ness an­chor Stu­art Var­ney said when re­port­ing the new deal.

PBG/ TNS

NEWS of Roger Ailes’ new pact was warmly re­ceived at Fox News.

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