Media Mogul Rupert Murdoch To Retire From Corporate Roles
Rupert Murdoch, the prominent Australian-American media mogul, is stepping down as Chairman of Fox Corp (NASDAQ: FOX) and News Corp…
Rupert Murdoch, the prominent Australian-American media mogul, is stepping down as Chairman of Fox Corp (NASDAQ: FOX) and News Corp (NASDAQ: NWS), the two media companies he’s led for a long time.
Murdoch, aged 92, is stepping aside from the corporate world after a career spanning seven decades. Lachlan Murdoch, Rupert’s eldest son, will replace his father as the sole Chairman of News Corp and continue as Executive Chair and Chief Executive of Fox Corp, both companies announced on Thursday.
Rupert Murdoch inherited a newspaper publishing business from his father, the late Keith Arthur Murdoch of Australia. He expanded it into one of the world’s largest media empires, spanning newspapers, cable television, movies, and sports betting, among other sectors.
As Murdoch built a global media empire, he became entangled in a seemingly endless list of controversies. In 2011, News of the World, a now-defunct newspaper under Murdoch’s empire, was accused of phone hacking and police bribery in pursuit of news scoops. The paper admitted the charges, several people were arrested, and Murdoch’s company paid tens of millions of dollars to settle lawsuits stemming from the case.
Most recently, in April 2023, Fox Corp-owned Fox News agreed to pay nearly $800mn to settle a defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems, an electronic voting machine vendor. The lawsuit alleged that several Fox News hosts defamed Dominion by claiming its machines were rigged to steal the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election from then-incumbent President Donald Trump.
Fox News reached a last-minute settlement with Dominion shortly after the trial began for the defamation case. Murdoch founded Fox News in 1996 and steered it to become America’s most-watched cable news network.
- Murdoch’s media holdings were historically grouped under News Corporation. In 2013, he spun off News Corporation’s publishing operations into a new publicly traded company called News Corp, and the original News Corp was renamed 21st Century Fox.
- In 2019, media giant Disney paid $71bn to acquire most of 21st Century Fox, earning the Murdoch clan a $10bn+ windfall. The assets Disney didn’t acquire were spun off into a new publicly traded company called Fox Corp.
- The Murdoch clan has a roughly 40% voting stake in News Corp and a 44% voting stake in Fox Corp., securities filings indicate.
Rupert’s two sons, James and Lachlan Murdoch, were long expected to inherit their father’s media empire. James served as 21st Century Fox’s chief executive for four years before stepping down following the Disney acquisition. After the acquisition, he retained an executive position at News Corp. but resigned in 2020 following disagreements with his father.
In contrast, Lachlan has stuck with Rupert and cemented his position as the heir apparent. His elevation to Chairman of both Fox and News Corp seals that fate.
- Rupert will be appointed Chairman Emeritus, an honorary position, at both Fox Corp and News Corp when he officially resigns in November. Lachlan will take the captain’s seat and lead the media empire founded by his grandfather in the 20th century.