by Michelle Castillo
Now that founding Fox News CEO Roger Ailes has resigned from his position after several accusations of alleged sexual harassment from employees, many are wondering what will happen next at the cable news network. One source tells CNBC the move could lead to an executive shake-up.
When a CEO is involved in a scandal usually the company can go in one of two directions, said Jason Schloetzer, associate professor at Georgetown's McDonough School of Business. The company can move the CEO to an advisory position. Or, they can use this opportunity to get rid of the executive and anyone who is closely tied to him.
"They could use this an opportunity to bring in some fresh perspective," Schloetzer said. "This is a time to distance yourself from him, and let the people aligned with him leave, bring in new talent and reshape the organization."
A source close to the situation told CNBC that 21st Century Fox is leaning towards cleaning house, getting rid of many close to Ailes. New York Magazine's Daily Intelligencer reported that an executive said that long-time Fox News and Fox Business Network executive vice president of corporate communications Irena Briganti, who infamously runs the network's public relations department, will be let go with Ailes. (A 21st Century Fox spokesperson said Briganti is still with the company.)
Ailes, who was the CEO of Fox News since it launched in 1996, resigned on Thursday amidst several claims that he had sexually harassed employees. Ex-Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit in early July against Ailes, saying she was let go from the network after refusing to have a sexual relationship with executive. Daily Intelligencer reported Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly had told outside investigators that she had been sexually harassed by the disgraced executive.
Another source told CNBC said they had seen this kind of behavior from Ailes towards employees when they worked at Fox News.
"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," Nancy Erika Smith and Martin Hyman, attorneys for Gretchen Carlson, said in a statement to CNBC. "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. We thank all the brave women who spoke out about this issue. We will have more to say in coming days as events unfold."
Schloetzer said Ailes leaving, who had been with the company for more than 20 years, could be an opportunity to revamp the company.
"This is a good opportunity for James and Lachlan Murdoch to put their stamp on the organization," he said.
However, shakeups can cause employees to worry about job stability and cause unrest. Being upfront with current employees about what is going on can help a company stay on track so it can move past the controversy.
"Change and firings can have an impact on morale," said Claire Telling, co-CEO of global talent agency Grace Blue. "It goes back to communicating why this is happening, explaining your strategy, and if possible being upfront with people. These situations can explode in social media. You want to be upfront with your teams as much as possible to stomp out rumors."