Bill Shine and Jack Abernethy to fill Roger Ailes' role at Fox News

Two veteran Fox News executives will replace ousted chairman and chief executive Roger Ailes after the widening scandal over his alleged mistreatment of female employees.

Bill Shine and Jack Abernethy will be co-presidents at the 21st Century Fox unit, reporting to its executive chairman, Rupert Murdoch. The company announced the appointments Friday.

Shine, who has been with Fox News since its launch in 1996, will oversee all programming aspects of the network, including production and talent management. Abernethy, who is also chief executive for Fox Television Stations, will oversee all of the business aspects of Fox News.

The swift appointment of Shine, who has been running Fox News alongside Murdoch since Ailes’ departure, is an effort to present stability within a organization of strong personalities that has been roiled by controversy.

Shine and Abernethy take over after Ailes’ July 21 departure amid allegations that he sexually harassed former anchor Gretchen Carlson. Carlson, who left Fox News in June, has filed a lawsuit against Ailes, alleging he sabotaged her career in retaliation for rebuffing his sexual advances and complaining about a hostile work environment.

Fox News also announced that Mark Kranz is leaving his role as chief financial officer. His departure is being described as a retirement, but it’s the highest-profile exit by a Fox News executive since the parent company investigated the charges made against Ailes.

Shine appears to have survived an internal investigation by 21st Century Fox, which turned up other incidents in which Ailes allegedly sexual harassed female employees at Fox News.

Following Carlson’s suit, other women at Fox News have come forward with harassment claims that raised the possibility that other executives in the company could be implicated.

The most damaging claim was made by former employee Laurie Luhn, who said she became sexually involved with Ailes to advance her career. Ailes allegedly authorized paying her a $3.15-million package in 2011 to exit the company when she threatened to file sexual harassment charges against him.

One person briefed on the matter said Kranz’s departure was precipitated by the disclosure of the payment.

A 21st Century Fox spokesperson declined to comment on Kranz.

Ailes and 21st Century Fox are in talks with Carlson’s lawyers about a settling her lawsuit. But other women who have worked at Fox News continue to come forward with harassment claims.

The most high-profile on-air talent speaking up is Andrea Tantoros, a co-host of the Fox News daytime program “Outnumbered.”

Tantoros, who has not been on the air since April, said this week she complained to Fox News about having been subjected to inappropriate remarks by Ailes in 2015. Fox News has said she made no such complaint and violated the network’s guidelines when she promoted her new book.

Ailes has denied all the allegations made against him.

 

stephen.battaglio@latimes.com

Twitter: @SteveBattaglio


UPDATES:

12:50 p.m.: This article has been updated throughout with additional details and background.

The article was originally published at 11:25 a.m. 

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