Rupert Murdoch is retiring from the boards of Fox and News Corporation, the companies announced Thursday morning, leaving his son Lachlan as sole executive of the powerful global media empire he built from a small local newspaper company in Australia 70 years ago.
Elder Mr. Murdoch will become chairman of both businesses, the companies said.
92 year old Mr. Murdoch has shown no intention of stepping down or slowing down after naming Lachlan as the operational successor to his business empire in 2019, including selling his vast entertainment holdings to Walt Disney Co.
Even now, in his retirement, he will continue to provide advice, Lachlan Murdoch, 52, said in a company release. Senior Mr. Murdoch indicated in a statement to staff that he wanted to be serious about giving that advice.
“We have every reason to be optimistic about the coming years — and I certainly am, and plan to be here to participate in them,” he wrote. “Expect to see me in the office on Friday afternoons when I visit your countries and institutions.”
Nevertheless, the announcement was epoch-making, as Mr. Murdoch marks at least a formal end to an active career in which he built the most important and politically influential media empire on the planet. His institutions, imbued with a brand of right-wing populism, have amassed the power to shape and sometimes make or break presidents and prime ministers.
He built that empire on three continents, helping to change norms and tastes in journalism, politics, and popular culture throughout the English-speaking world. Using the sensibilities of a self-confident pirate, he acted with a willingness to move fast and break things – before it became fashionable.
Those tactics have caused legal problems and a steady stream of condemnation from critics and one-time allies, especially his Fox News Channel stars former President Donald J. After admitting to Trump’s 2020 election lies — that led to a $787.5 million settlement with the company at the center. Most of these are Dominion Voting.
Lachlan Murdoch, despite having a different look than his father – with tattoos and trademark leather boots – has so far represented continuity for the family firm. Although he has taken a more aggressive stance in entering the streaming sphere – acquiring ad-supported entertainment Streaming service Tubi in 2020 Since then the value has increased – he maintains the position of the company’s most strictly conservative outlets.
He remained in his current role overseeing Fox News in 2020 and was an early supporter of the network’s far-right firebrand Tucker Carlson. After the Dominion settlement in the spring Mr. Although he is credited within the company with forcing Carlson off the Fox lineup, the younger Mr. There is no indication that Murdoch will change the overall course of the network and its hard-right approach at the helm. For another presidential campaign that could have Mr. Trump on the Republican ticket.
So far, Lachlan Murdoch has not stepped forward in any aggressive fashion to be the firm face of the company like his father, and the political and media worlds will be watching closely to see if he takes his retirement as an opportunity. So.
The elder Mr. Murdoch’s announcement had no precipitating event, beyond the obvious fact that even a healthy 92-year-old is in his twilight years.
Also, Mr. Among those who know Murdoch, it has long been said that he would prefer to retire looking sharp and active – he was on the Fox lot this week – rather than a depleted figure.
But with his announced retirement, Mr. Ahead of a family battle for control of the empire after Murdoch’s eventual death, he further cemented the company under his chosen business successor.
According to the terms of the trust, which controls the family’s stake in the empire, Mr. Murdoch’s four eldest children – Lachlan Murdoch, Elizabeth Murdoch, James Murdoch and Prudence Murdoch – will have an equal vote in its future following his death; Until then, Mr. Murdoch held the controlling vote.
Rupert Murdoch’s retirement in a sense formalizes an arrangement he had already made after the Disney sale, which put Lachlan in charge of Fox Corp. and News Corp. as the day-to-day executive.
Wisely, the younger Murdoch’s titles — executive chairman and chief executive — have remained effectively unchanged, except for minor changes where he loses the “collateral” he once shared with his father, who held similar titles until Thursday morning.
Mr. Murdoch’s move to anoint Lachlan as his chosen successor was followed by a rift with his younger son James, who is more left-leaning than his father and brother, for example, a less austere and rock-ribbed lawyer. Edition of Fox News.
He and his wife Kathryn have criticized climate change denial in family outlets, and James appeared to refer to Fox News when linking the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol to “outlets that spread lies to their audience.” In an interview with The Financial Times.
Those close to James Murdoch will try to rally his two sisters to vote with him to wrest control of the company from Lachlan after their father’s death and restructure it from its defining populism.
But it’s unclear whether he has the votes or wants to ultimately force that kind of bruising family feud. And Mr. If Murdoch has his way, such an outcome would be far-fetched. He has often mentioned that his mother, Dame Elizabeth Murdoch, died just shy of her 104th birthday. As he wrote to employees on Thursday, “Our companies are in robust health, like mine.”
This is a growing story. Check back for updates.