NEW YORK >> Roger Ailes is out as chief executive at Fox News Channel and Fox Business, his career at the networks he built from scratch and ran with an iron hand for nearly 20 years over with stunning swiftness following allegations that he forced out a former anchor after she spurned his sexual advances.
Hours before the final night of the Republican National Convention, network parent 21st Century Fox announced Thursday that Ailes would resign immediately.
Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, will assume the role of chairman and acting CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network until a replacement is named.
Murdoch and 21st Century Fox and Murdoch did not address the widening scandal in the statement on the resignation but lauded Ailes for his contributions.
"It is always difficult to create a channel or a publication from the ground up and against seemingly entrenched monopolies," Murdoch said in a statement. "(Ailes') 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."
Fox is heading into a general election campaign in its customary spot at the top of the ratings, but without the man who sets its editorial tone every day.
The blustery, 76-year-old media executive built a network that both transformed the news business and changed the political conversation. Fox News Channel provided a television home to conservatives who had felt left out of the media, and played a part in advancing a rough-and-tumble style of politics that left many concerned that it was impossible to get things done in government.
Ailes' downfall began with the July 6 filing of a lawsuit by Gretchen Carlson, who charged that Ailes sabotaged her career because she refused his suggestions for sex and had complained about a pervasive atmosphere of sexual harassment at Fox. Ailes has denied the charges, but 21st Century Fox hired a law firm to investigate.