Roger Ailes won’t leave Fox News empty-handed. The former chairman and CEO will walk away with a healthy severance package following his resignation on Thursday.
Ailes will receive about $40 million from the cable news network as part of the settlement agreement surrounding his departure, approximately the amount remaining on his current contract, which was due to expire in 2018, according to media reports.
The agreement also prevents Ailes from starting a Fox News competitor, and requires him to stay on as an adviser to Rupert Murdoch, who will take over as interim chairman and CEO for the time being.
The official announcement that Ailes would be stepping down from his position came on Thursday, after days of speculation.
The man credited with founding one of the most profitable cable networks in history exits in disgrace amid a lawsuit filed on July 6 by former “Real Story” host Gretchen Carlson, who accused her erstwhile boss of sexual harassment. 21st Century Fox swiftly opened an investigation into the claims that remains ongoing, one whose findings have not yet been disclosed.
“Roger Ailes has made a remarkable contribution to our company and our country. Roger shared my vision of a great and independent television organization and executed it brilliantly over 20 great years,” Murdoch said in a statement.
Ailes is credited with bringing opinion back to news coverage, starting with America’s Talking, an NBC-owned network that eventually became MSNBC. Ailes has also produced Broadway plays, served as president of CNBC and hosted a short-lived talk show during his career.
Ailes was named the founding CEO of Fox News in 1996 and the network quickly gained popularity while he called the shots. Fox News is now regularly among the most-watched networks in all of cable and dominates the cable news category.