“My job is to report to Rupert, and I expect that to continue,” Ailes told Variety. The network’s parent company is expected to announce that Murdoch’s sons, James and Lachlan, will take senior roles at the company.
Ailes’ future came into question Thursday when a proposed plan was disclosed that James Murdoch would be named chief executive of the company and Lachlan Murdoch would become executive chairman alongside his father. Chase Carey would step down as chief operating officer, but would remain with the company through May 2016 in a role that would be defined later.
The question of where Ailes fits into the reporting structure is of great importance to the investment community because the operations he oversees are an enormous contributor to 21st Century Fox’s revenues and because the Fox News chief clashed with Lachlan Murdoch in the past.
“Rupert will need to appease Roger,” said Tuna Amobi, an analyst with S&P Capital IQ. “Even if it means that Roger Ailes is essentially given the freedom to run his own kingdom.”
A spokesman for 21st Century Fox did not respond immediately Thursday to a query about Ailes. Stuart Varney, an anchor who appears on Fox Business Network, stated on air Thursday morning that Ailes would continue to report to the elder Murdoch.
Tensions with Ailes were said to be a contributing factor in Lachlan Murdoch’s decision to exit the company in 2005, according to press reports at the time. Ailes was named chairman of the Fox Television Stations Group following Lachlan Murdoch’s departure.
In 2014, Lachlan Murdoch returned to the fold, after being appointed as co-chairman of News Corp. and 21st Century Fox Inc.
Fox News Channel’s operating revenue was $2.04 billion in 2014, according to data from market-research firm SNL Kagan, while gross ad revenue was approximately $934.7 million.