Longtime Fox News Channel executive Bill Shine officially resigned on Monday amid a wider executive shakeup at the network as the Murdoch family that controls 21st Century Fox (FOXA) seeks to clean up a workplace rocked in recent months by charges of sexual and racial harassment.
Shine, a protege of former Fox News CEO and Chairman Roger Ailes, held the position of co-president, overseeing programming. Although his position wasn't filled in the shakeup, two executives -- Suzanne Scott and Jay Wallace -- were promoted within their divisions, both reporting directly to Rupert Murdoch, who remains the network's chairman and acting CEO.
Scott will become president of programming while Wallace becomes the network's president of news, the company said in an e-mailed statement. Additional appointments were also made on the finance and human resources side of Fox News as well as at Fox Business Network.
Jack Abernethy, who was promoted to co-president in July with Shine after Ailes left the company amid allegations of sexual harassment, will remain co-president of Fox News and CEO of the company's television station group.
The flurry of changes at Fox News come less than two weeks after star anchor Bill O'Reilly was also dismissed by the network following charges of sexual harassment and an expose by The New York Times that detailed three previously undisclosed payment that the network or the anchor made to women in exchange for not making the accusations public.
Taken together, the promotions and dismissals mark a historic and generational shift of power within the company to its CEO, James Murdoch, who had chafed for years at Ailes' control of Fox News. Though the elder Murdoch will retain sway over corporate decision-making, the younger Murdoch is likely to have more authority over Fox News than ever before.
Until Ailes was ousted in July amid multiple charges of sexual harassment, the network was largely off limits to anyone but Rupert Murdoch and the imperial Ailes. The elder Murdoch and Ailes co-founded Fox News in 1996, and the network's outsized contribution to Fox's profits -- more than $1 billion a year -- gave its former chairman enormous leeway over programming, choice of on-air commentators and the network's internal workings.
But as Ailes was dismissed last summer and O'Reilly was ousted for similar reasons last month, James Murdoch's leverage has expanded even as he has vowed not to change the network's provocative brand of nationalist conservatism.
Bill Shine's exit removes one of Ailes' top lieutenants from the network. And by promoting a woman to take over programming, James Murdoch is aiming to send a message that Fox News can retain its conservative tone while also protecting employees from harassment.
Shine has been cited in a recent spate of sexual and racial harassment lawsuits against the network. In one suit, former Fox News anchor Andrea Tantaros charged that he was aware of Ailes' behavior of sexually harassing female employees at the network but chose to ignore it.
Julie Roginsky, another on-air contributor at Fox News, also filed a lawsuit in April in New York charging that Shine retaliated against her when she complained of harassment by Ailes, and when she refused to malign Gretchen Calrson when the former Fox News anchor sued Ailes for sexual harassment.
Though Shine has denied the charges, he was viewed as too closely associated with Ailes and O'Reilly to lead the network out of a crisis that has engulfed the company.
Shine's dismissal was first reported by New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman who charged that the former Fox News president carried out many of Ailes' attacks on critics, including himself. Sherman's reporting on Fox News, in addition to Carlson's lawsuit, is widely credited with forcing the company to oust Ailes, O'Reilly and now Bill Shine.
Longtime Fox News anchor Sean Hannity warned last week that Shine's dismissal would mark "the total end of the FNC as we know it." Shine was hired in 1996 as a Fox News producer for Hannity's previous show, Hannity & Colmes, which matched the staunchly conservative Long Island, N.Y., native with Alan Comes, a liberal.
Shine was Ailes's righthand guy, and involved in carrying out Ailes's attacks on enemies, including instructing Fox talent to go after me— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) May 1, 2017
Hannity had yet to tweet about Shine's resignation.