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Roger Ailes resigns as CEO of Fox News

Ailes out, Rupert Murdoch to take on role

Roger Ailes has resigned from his role as chairman and CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, and his role as chairman of Fox Television Stations, 21st Century Fox said on Thursday.

Rupert Murdoch will assume the role of chairman and acting CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, the company said.

"It is always difficult to create a channel or a publication from the ground up and against seemingly entrenched monopolies," Murdoch said. "To lead a flourishing news channel, and to build Fox Business, Roger has defied the odds. His grasp of policy and his ability to make profoundly important issues accessible to a broader audience stand in stark contrast to the self-serving elitism that characterizes far too much of the media."

Existing management team Bill Shine, Jay Wallace and Mark Kranz will assist media magnate Murdoch, the company said.

A spokeswoman for Roger Ailes released the following letter Ailes addressed to Rupert Murdoch in which Ailes offers to continue to work with Fox as an advisor.

Dear Rupert,
With your support, I am proud that we have built Fox News and Fox Business Channels into powerful and lucrative news organizations that inform our audience and reward our shareholders. I take particular pride in the role that I have played advancing the careers of the many women I have promoted to executive and on-air positions. Many of these talented journalists have deservedly become household names known for their intelligence and strength, whether reporting the news, fair and balanced, and offering exciting opinions on our opinion programs. Fox News has become Number 1 in all of cable because I consistently identified and promoted the most talented men and women in television, and they performed at the highest levels.

Having spent 20 years building this historic business, I will not allow my presence to become a distraction from the work that must be done every day to ensure that Fox News and Fox Business continue to lead our industry. I am confident that everyone at Fox News and Fox Business will continue as the standard setters that they are, and that the businesses are well positioned for even greater success in the future.

I am proud of our accomplishments and look forward to continuing to work with you as an adviser in building 21st Century Fox

All the best,

Online news source Drudge Report originally reported the letter from Ailes.

The embattled Ailes stands accused of misconduct by Gretchen Carlson, a former host who said in a lawsuit that he sexually harassed her during her tenure at the network.

Nancy Erika Smith and Martin Hyman, attorneys for Gretchen Carlson, thanked the "brave women who spoke out about this issue" and told CNBC there would be more to say as events unfold.

"Within just two weeks of her filing a lawsuit against Roger Ailes, Gretchen Carlson's extraordinary courage has caused a seismic shift in the media world," the attorneys said. "We hope that all businesses now understand that women will no longer tolerate sexual harassment and reputable companies will no longer shield those who abuse women."

The complaint alleges that Carlson was fired for refusing to have sex with Ailes, and gives examples of comments Ailes made about her appearance.

"I had to stand up for myself and speak out for all women and the next generation of women in the workplace," Carlson said. "I am extremely proud of my accomplishments at Fox News and for keeping our loyal viewers engaged and informed on events and news topics of the day."

Ailes had denied Carlson's claims, saying in a statement, "Gretchen Carlson's allegations are false. This is a retaliatory suit for the network's decision not to renew her contract, which was due to the fact that her disappointingly low ratings were dragging down the afternoon lineup."

After Carlson's suit, some media outlets reported that Megyn Kelly had come forward with information about Ailes, and that 21st Century Fox may have been nearing a decision on Ailes' future at the company.

The statement thanking Ailes for his work did not mention the allegations.

Disclosure: Ailes was president of CNBC from 1993 until 1996.