Roger Ailes, a former U.S. presidential adviser who started the Fox News Channel to promote a Republican agenda and built it into the most-watched U.S. cable news network before resigning amid sexual harassment allegations, has died. He was 77.
He died Thursday, the network said, citing a statement from his wife, Elizabeth Ailes. No cause was given.
“Roger was a loving husband to me, to his son Zachary, and a loyal friend to many,” his wife said in the statement, according to Fox News. “He was also a patriot, profoundly grateful to live in a country that gave him so much opportunity to work hard, to rise—and to give back.”
Rupert Murdoch, the 84-year-old chief executive of 21st Century Fox, is planning to hand over the reins of the media conglomerate to his son James, two people briefed on the plans said Thursday.
The elder Mr. Murdoch will remain at the company as executive chairman, and his son Lachlan is moving from Australia to Los Angeles to become co-executive chairman, the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.
The exact timing for the changes is unclear, but it is said to be part of Mr. Murdoch’s long-term succession planning with the board. The changes are expected to be discussed at a board meeting next week, one person said.
As part of reorganization, Chase Carey will step down from his role as chief operating officer at Fox and work as an adviser to the company.
Mr. Carey, widely respected on Wall Street, is said to have played an integral role in the succession plans and has built flexibility into his contract with Fox to ease the transition, one person said.
“The matter of succession is on the agenda at our upcoming, regularly scheduled board meeting,” Nathaniel Brown, a Fox spokesman, said in a statement.
The appointment to chief executive reflects a remarkable recovery for James Murdoch, who was battered by the phone hacking scandal that engulfed the company while he oversaw the British businesses.
Along with his father, he was called before Parliament to answer grueling questions and discuss embarrassing emails related to the hacking. James soon departed London for New York in an effort, those close to him said, to distance himself from the fallout and rebuild his reputation.
The elder Mr. Murdoch put the succession plan in place in March 2014 when he named the two sons to senior positions in his companies.
James was appointed co-chief operating officer at 21st Century Fox, and Lachlan became nonexecutive co-chairman of News Corporation and 21st Century Fox, returning to his father’s side after a nine-year absence.