Rupert Murdoch is stepping down as chairman of Fox Corporation and News Corp, the companies announced Thursday, after decades of building the conservative media empire.
Murdoch’s eldest son Lachlan will take over when the 92-year-old billionaire exits his roles in November and becomes chairman emeritus, Fox said in a statement.
Murdoch said “the time is right for me to take on different roles,” in a memo sent to employees obtained by CNN, adding that his son will be a “passionate principled leader” of both companies.
Murdoch will continue to provide “valued counsel” to both companies Lachlan Murdoch, 52, said in a statement while thanking his father.
$17.3 billion. That’s how Forbes estimates Murdoch and his family are worth, nearly all from shares of Fox Corp. and News Corp.
Born in Melbourne into a newspaper family, Murdoch first got into Australia’s newspaper business in the 1950s. Twenty five years later he purchased Twentieth Century Fox and became a Hollywood executive, and launched the Fox broadcast network. He launched Fox News in 1996 in an effort to compete with CNN, hiring Roger Ailes to start the conservative network that later became the nation’s most-watched cable news channel. His business empire is now divided in two publicly traded companies: Fox Corp. controls Fox News, Fox’s broadcast TV network, TMZ and the streaming service Tubi, while News Corp. owns print products like the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and HarperCollins publishing house.
In recent years, Murdoch’s reign was tainted by a number of scandals, including Fox’s role in former President Donald Trump’s false election fraud claims following the 2020 presidential election. Dominion Voting Systems filed a $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox News over claims made on the network that the company’s voting machines were used to rig the 2020 election in President Joe Biden’s favor. In a deposition, Murdoch admitted Fox should have toned down the false claims presented on the network after the election saying: “I would have liked us to be stronger in denouncing it in hindsight.”
$787.5 million. That’s how much Fox Corp. ultimately paid in a defamation settlement with Dominion Voting Systems. A separate lawsuit from Smartmatic, a Dominion competitor, with similar claims is still outstanding.
Rupert Murdoch to Step Down as Chair of Fox and News Corp After Seven-Decade Career (Wall Street Journal)