News Corp.’s Roger Ailes, who built Fox News into the most-watched cable-news outlet, signed a four-year contract extension to lead the network and Fox Television Stations.
Ailes, 72, will remain chairman and chief executive of Fox News and chairman of the Fox stations, New York-based News Corp. said today in an e-mailed statement. He will continue as a senior adviser to News Corp. Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch.
The renewal comes ahead of News Corp.’s planned split into separate publishing and entertainment companies, due to take place by the middle of next year. Murdoch has made a number of executive changes and is considering giving son James oversight of the company’s U.S. TV businesses outside of Ailes’s control, people with knowledge of the situation said last month.
Ailes is among the company’s highest-paid executives, making more than $21 million in salary, bonus and stock awards in the fiscal year that ended June 30, according to company filings. Ailes, who founded Fox News in 1996, will also continue to run Fox Business News, local Fox broadcast stations and its syndication unit.
Fox News was expected to generate more than $1.8 billion in revenue in 2012, according to SNL Kagan.
Dan Berger, a spokesman for News Corp., wouldn’t specify when the renewal starts. The extension will at least go through 2016, meaning Ailes will manage Fox News past the next U.S. presidential election.
Ailes, who worked for Republican presidents including Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, pioneered a more partisan approach to U.S. news coverage favoring Republicans and issues supported by the party. Its ratings have consistently beat Time Warner Inc.’s CNN and Comcast Corp.’s MSNBC, which has mirrored Fox’s approach with an agenda more favorable to Democrats.
News Corp. fell 2 percent to $24.91 in New York. The Class A shares have gained 40 percent this year.
Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP competes with News Corp. units in providing financial news and information.