Rupert Murdoch is relinquishing his positions as chairman of Fox and News Corp in favour of his son Lachlan, marking a significant change in the leadership of both media conglomerates.
The 92-year-old media mogul, who founded Fox News in 1996, announced in a memo to employees that it’s the right time for him to assume different roles within the companies and in mid-November, he will transition to the role of Chairman Emeritus for both firms, at the same time expressing optimism about their future prospects.
With the announcement, Lachlan Murdoch, aged 52 and the son of Rupert and his second wife, Anna Maria dePeyster, will take the helm of both Fox and News Corp.
Rupert Murdoch, who has been married four times and has six children, including Elisabeth, Lachlan, and James, had long contemplated the issue of succession.
Lachlan originally emerged as the heir apparent in the late 1990s but left the business in 2005 after a dispute with Roger Ailes, then the boss of Fox News.
However, he returned in 2014 and has held prominent roles within the family empire ever since.
- James Murdoch, known for his more liberal views, left the News Corp board in 2020 due to disagreements over editorial content and the company’s direction.
- Elisabeth, aged 55, played significant roles in the business but ventured into her own television company, Shine, producing shows like MasterChef and The Biggest Loser.
This transition occurs during a turbulent period for Fox, which recently agreed to a $787.5 million settlement with Dominion, a voting machine company, over its coverage of the 2020 presidential election.
A second lawsuit from Smartmatic, another voting technology firm, seeks an even more considerable sum of $2.7 billion; meanwhile, Fox also parted ways with its highest-rated TV host, Tucker Carlson, in April.
This transition comes a year before the US presidential election, during which Fox News wields substantial influence in right-leaning circles. The network is hosting a number of debates between Republicans vying to be the party’s 2024 White House candidate.
Meanwhile, Journalist Michael Wolff is poised to release a highly anticipated tell-all book about the Murdoch family and Fox News titled “The Fall: The End of Fox News and the Murdoch Dynasty.” A second book by CNN media journalist Brian Stelter is scheduled for publication on November 14th.
In his memo to staff, Rupert Murdoch vowed to remain involved in the “contest of ideas” and criticized other media outlets for being aligned with a “rarefied class” of elites who prioritize political narratives over truth.
Lachlan Murdoch, in a statement, assured that his father would continue to provide valuable counsel to both companies.
The Career That Spans Decades
Rupert Murdoch’s career began in Australia in the 1950s, eventually leading to his ownership of UK newspapers like the News of the World and The Sun in 1969.
He later acquired several US publications, including the New York Post and Wall Street Journal, and remains the owner of numerous local, national, and international media outlets.
However, his career faced setbacks, including the ill-fated purchase of Myspace in 2005 and the phone hacking scandal in the UK, which resulted in significant financial losses.
Following today’s announcement, Lachlan Murdoch had been serving as the executive chair of Fox Corporation and Nova Entertainment.
The market reacted positively, with Fox shares rising by almost 2% and News Corp shares experiencing a more modest 0.6% increase.
Corporate law expert Professor Anat Alon-Beck noted that the market’s reaction to Lachlan’s promotion would depend on the presence of a solid and intelligent plan to ensure the stability of the companies’ leadership despite the departure of the CEO.
Ironically, many wonder at the transition, which also raises questions about the future of the media empire when Rupert Murdoch eventually passes on and the potential battles for control among his adult children.
The Last Bit, As Rupert Murdoch gracefully passes the torch to his son Lachlan, the media industry witnesses a historic shift.
The decision to hand over the reins of Fox and News Corp signifies the end of an era, with Rupert’s indelible mark on the media industry and Lachlan’s emerging leadership promising a new chapter filled with challenges and opportunities.
While Rupert Murdoch promises to stay engaged in the “contest of ideas,” Lachlan Murdoch’s tenure will undoubtedly shape the direction and impact of these media giants.
As the Murdochs steer through the new events, the media world watches with great anticipation, knowing that this transition will resonate far beyond the boardrooms of Fox and News Corp.