22 January 2019
Media baron Rupert Murdoch (center) with sons Lachlan (left) and James. Photo: AFP
Media baron Rupert Murdoch (center) with sons Lachlan (left) and James. Photo: AFP

Rupert Murdoch to hand Fox reins to son James

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch, 84, plans to retire as chief executive of 21st Century Fox Inc., and he will hand over the reins to his 42-year-old son James, Reuters reported, citing a source familiar with the situation.

Fox chief operating officer Chase Carey will step into an advisory role as part of a generational shift at the entertainment and media conglomerate, the report said.

James Murdoch and his 43-year-old brother Lachlan would work as partners, the source added.

The group is the parent company of Fox News and the movie studio behind “X-Men” and other series.

The elder Murdoch will take on the role of executive chairman, according to published reports.

While New York-based James will have day-to-day control of the company, Lachlan, who will be moving from Sydney to Los Angeles, will play an integral role as the company’s co-executive chair.

The wheels of this partnership were set in motion when Fox announced the brothers’ promotions in March 2014. Lachlan was named non-executive co-chairman of both Fox and publishing operation News Corp. and James was appointed co-chief operating officer of Fox together with Carey.

This will be the first time that only Murdoch family members will occupy the top three positions at the company.

Fox said on Thursday it would take up the succession issue at its next board meeting, which the source said would take place next week.

CNBC reported earlier that the elder Murdoch would still have the final say in whatever transpires at Fox. It was unclear whether the reorganization would take place this year or at the start of 2016, CNBC said.

“The most important thing in the immediate term is that Chase Carey not leave,” said Needham & Company Inc. analyst Laura Martin.

“Wall Street really cares about Chase Carey running this business. So if the implication of Rupert handing the title to his son is that Chase Carey leaves in the near term, we would expect that to negatively impact the stock prices.”

As of April, the Murdochs owned 39 percent of voting shares in both Fox and News Corp., which operates newspapers like The Wall Street Journal and book publisher HarperCollins, through a family trust, Reuters said.

Fox split from News Corp. in 2013, it added.

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