21st Century Fox Says Business as Usual Even Without Roger Ailes
Lachlan Murdoch, executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, avoided any detailed discussion during an earnings call on Wednesday of the departure of former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes following sexual harassment allegations, implying that it’s business as usual at the company.
Murdoch said that he and his brother James Murdoch, the CEO of 21st Century Fox (FOX), had accepted the resignation of Ailes and then “moved quickly to protect the business, protect its employees and protect the unique voice that Fox News broadcasts.”
The younger Murdochs, sons of billionaire founder Rupert Murdoch, reportedly had a tense relationship with Ailes even before the former Fox executive was hit sexual harassment accusations by former anchor Gretchen Carlson and other Fox News hosts. Ailes was the founding chairman and CEO of the network in 1996.
Lachlan said in his comments that the entertainment giant is undergoing what he called “a transition to new leadership,” but expects to have its best year ever in terms of ratings. In the latest quarter, the company’s revenues hit $6.6 billion and its earnings beat Wall Street estimates.
Ailes resigned last month after Carlson filed a lawsuit alleging multiple acts of sexual harassment, which triggered an internal investigation by 21st Century Fox. According to several reports, investigators have uncovered as many as 20 other cases involving Ailes.
The former Fox News chairman has denied any wrongdoing, and remains a consultant to the network as part of a rumored $60-million settlement with the company. Rupert Murdoch has taken over as chairman and acting CEO of Fox News, and Lachlan Murdoch said there is “no desire or need to shift the position it has in the market.”