Suzanne Scott Named First Female Chief Executive of Fox News


After Fox’s sexual harassment scandal burst into public view in the summer of 2016, the Murdochs pledged that it would be a new era at the channel. The network went through a number of management changes, including hiring a new head of human resources, appointing women to executive roles in finance and ad sales, expanding training and creating more ways for employees to report harassment or discrimination. The company also created a new workplace culture panel. For her part, Ms. Scott has led a number of networking and mentoring initiatives intended to advance women at the channel, including a monthly women’s breakfast series.

Yet Ms. Scott’s promotion means that a top executive during the Ailes era remains in charge at the network.

Ms. Scott had been cited in lawsuits against the network as a figure who enabled and concealed Mr. Ailes’s behavior. She has denied any wrongdoing, and many of those disputes have since settled, including a $10 million settlement reached this week to resolve a group of racial and gender discrimination lawsuits.

But with the Murdoch empire contracting with the jettisoning of Fox’s entertainment arm, the estimated billion dollars in revenue that Fox News reels in annually is that much more important to the family’s bottom line.

The network’s leaders had signaled, in the face of an expected Hillary Clinton victory in 2016, that it would re-emphasize straight news coverage. But the channel has doubled-down on tough-edged conservative opinion, hiring the hard-right commentators Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin and changing its “Fair and Balanced” slogan to “Real News, Real Honest Opinion.”

The announcement on Thursday included the news that Jay Wallace, another longtime Fox News executive who also started in 1996, was promoted to president and executive editor of Fox News. He most recently worked as president of news and editorial at the network, where he oversaw news programming, including political coverage.

In addition, Jack Abernethy, a trusted Murdoch hand who worked as co-president of Fox News since August 2016, will relocate to Los Angeles and continue in his role as chief executive of the Fox Television Stations Group.

In a statement, Lachlan Murdoch said Mr. Abernethy had been a “steadying force at Fox News during the last 21 months, establishing extensive policies and procedures while streamlining management and installing respected industry executives in key roles, all of which achieved our goal of creating a more transparent work environment.”


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