Rupert Murdoch names Ailes’ successors at embattled Fox News

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Jack Abernethy and Bill Shine. (Getty Images)
Jack Abernethy and Bill Shine. (Getty Images)

NEW YORK – Now that Roger Ailes is gone, Fox News will be led by a pair of executives, Bill Shine and Jack Abernethy.

The two men will be co-presidents, reporting to Rupert Murdoch, who will be the channel’s executive chairman and will remain involved in the management.

Murdoch is separately the executive chairman of the channel’s parent company, 21st Century Fox. His sons Lachlan and James run the company in concert with him.

Fox announced the new leadership structure on Friday, three weeks after Ailes, the founding CEO and chairman, resigned under pressure.

Ailes has been accused of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior by past and present female employees at Fox News. One of them, ex-anchor Gretchen Carlson, is suing him. Ailes has denied the allegations.

There has been widespread speculation that other executives could be ensnared in the Ailes investigation, but Murdoch rebuffed that by promoting Shine on Friday.

Shine, currently the senior executive vice president in charge of programming, has been one of Ailes’ top lieutenants, overseeing the channel’s top-rated opinion shows.

Now he will be the co-president in charge of all news coverage and opinion programming.

Abernethy, a longtime Fox executive, will oversee business functions for Fox News.

Both men will also be co-presidents of the smaller spinoff channel Fox Business.

Fox News also announced one important departure: the channel’s chief financial officer Mark Kranz is “retiring,” according to a press release.

His exit will spur further questions about what, if anything, he knew about settlement payments for sexual harassment accusers.

No other executive departures were announced on Friday. By making the promotions, the Murdochs may be seeking to staunch persistent questions about the makeup of Fox News after Ailes.

Friday’s message is, essentially, that the channel will operate the same way it did before, without any infusion of new leadership at the top.

Suzanne Scott, who like Shine has been with the channel since it launched in 1996, will remain his top deputy for programming. Her new title will be executive vice president for programming, overseeing shows like “Hannity.”

Jay Wallace, the top executive in charge of newsgathering, will also remain in his role, reporting to Shine.

By Brian Stelter

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