Fox News on Monday announced the exit of one of its co-presidents, Bill Shine, removing a holdover from the Roger Ailes era and signaling that the network is prepared to shake up its executive ranks as it tries to move past a season of turmoil that has engulfed it since last summer.
Mr. Shine is a veteran newsman and a longtime lieutenant to Mr. Ailes, the former chairman who was forced out amid a sexual harassment scandal in July. Although Mr. Shine was seen as a source of stability in the news division at a turbulent time, his presence was viewed by some employees as a sign that Fox News’s parent, 21st Century Fox, was not serious about its stated commitment to reform the culture of the network.
Mr. Shine had been cited in several lawsuits as someone who enabled and concealed Mr. Ailes’s behavior and dismissed concerns from women who complained about it. He has denied all wrongdoing.
His departure is sure to roil some of Fox News’s most recognizable stars, with whom Mr. Shine had close relationships. Sean Hannity, the channel’s 10 p.m. mainstay, is particularly close with Mr. Shine, and he publicly defended his friend last week on Twitter, saying that removing Mr. Shine would be “the total end of the F.N.C. as we know it. Done.”
In a memo to the staff Monday afternoon, Rupert Murdoch, who controls the Fox media empire, said that Suzanne Scott would become president of programming and Jay Wallace would become president of news. Jack Abernethy, who was a co-president with Mr. Shine, remains in his current position.
“I know Bill was respected and liked by everyone at Fox News,’’ Mr. Murdoch wrote. “We will all miss him.’’
For months, Mr. Shine’s position seemed safe. He was promoted to lead Fox News alongside Mr. Abernethy in the wake of Mr. Ailes’s departure, at the behest of Mr. Murdoch, who built the sprawling Fox entertainment empire and is the news channel’s executive chairman.
But the dismissal of Bill O’Reilly, the prime-time host who faced his own sexual harassment allegations, brought new scrutiny to the company. Some women’s groups called for Mr. Shine to be fired.
Source: The New York Times |