Fox News names veteran executive Suzanne Scott as CEO

Rupert Murdoch (R) and his son Lachlan Murdoch, seen at a 2015 conference, share the title of executive chairman at 21st Century Fox, the parent of Fox News

Fox News on Thursday named longtime executive Suzanne Scott as chief executive of the cable news channel, the first woman to head the group, which has been hit by a string of sexual harassment claims.

Scott had served as the president of programming for both Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network and has been with the group since its inception nearly 22 years ago.

"Suzanne has been instrumental in the success of Fox News and she has now made history as its first female CEO," said Lachlan Murdoch, who is co-executive chairman of parent firm 21st Century Fox.

Fox has been at or near the top of viewer rankings among the three US cable news channels even as it has dealt with turmoil over the ousting of longtime chairman Roger Ailes -- who subsequently died -- and a series of sexual harassment claims against hosts and executives.

Ailes was accused of sexual harassment in a lawsuit by former news anchor Gretchen Carlson, who said she was fired for refusing his advances.

Popular Fox host Bill O'Reilly was forced out last year after reports of settlements totaling $13 million to five women in exchange for their silence and agreement not to pursue litigation against Fox News.

Rupert Murdoch, 87, who launched Fox, took over as executive chairman at the network after Ailes was ousted in 2016. The elder Murdoch shares the role of executive chairman at parent firm 21st Century Fox with his son.

The media-entertainment group has reached a deal to sell its Hollywood studios and some television operations to Walt Disney, leaving a more tightly focused group centered around Fox News.

The company also said Jay Wallace has been appointed president of Fox News and executive editor, while Jack Abernethy will continue as CEO of the newly expanded Fox Television Stations Group.

Rupert Murdoch (R) and his son Lachlan Murdoch, seen at a 2015 conference, share the title of executive chairman at 21st Century Fox, the parent of Fox News