As well as announcing his departure from the role, Murdoch confirmed that he was handing over leadership to his son Lachlan Murdoch.
In his departing message, Rupert said: “Our companies are in robust health, as am I. We have every reason to be optimistic about the coming years — I certainly am, and plan to be here to participate in them. But the battle for the freedom of speech and, ultimately, the freedom of thought, has never been more intense.”
He continued: “My father firmly believed in freedom, and Lachlan is absolutely committed to the cause. Self-serving bureaucracies are seeking to silence those who would question their provenance and purpose.
“Elites have open contempt for those who are not members of their rarefied class. Most of the media is in cahoots with those elites, peddling political narratives rather than pursuing the truth.”
Rupert’s son, Lachlan, will have a leading role in the media empire, as sole chairman of News Corp as well as maintaining his position as executive chairman and CEO of Fox Corp.
So who is Lachlan Murdoch and what could the transition in leadership mean for Fox?
Who is Lachlan Murdoch?
Lachlan Murdoch is a 52-year-old father-of-three and the eldest son of Rupert Murdoch. Born in London and raised in New York, Lachlan has worked closely by his father’s side since he was a teenager, and has been involved with television and news for decades.
Initially beginning his career at the Daily Mirror, Lachlan rose through the ranks before becoming an executive at News Corp.
It has been no secret that Lachlan had been lined up to take over the News and Fox Corp leadership for quite some time. As published in The Guardian, Rupert Murdoch said in a 90s interview: “Currently, it is their consensus that Lachlan will take over. He will be the first among equals, but they will all have to prove themselves.”
In 2005, however, Lachlan abruptly left his role at News Corp, much to the surprise of the people around him. He worked in investments before returning to the family business in 2014 as co-chairman of News Corp.
In recent years, it has been reported that there had been a succession struggle between Lachlan and his brother James.
As of November 2023, Lachlan will become the sole chairman of News Corp. He will also retain his position as CEO of Fox Corp, a position that he has held since 2019. Within this role, he will serve as the chairman for outlets such as Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, and the New York Post.
What has Lachlan Murdoch said about the new position?
Confirming the transition, Lachlan expressed support for his father in a statement.
He said: “On behalf of the Fox and News Corp boards of directors, leadership teams, and all the shareholders who have benefitted from his hard work, I congratulate my father on his remarkable 70-year career.
“We thank him for his vision, his pioneering spirit, his steadfast determination, and the enduring legacy he leaves to the companies he founded and countless people he has impacted. We are grateful that he will serve as chairman emeritus and know he will continue to provide valued counsel to both companies.”
The future of News Corp and Fox Corp with Lachlan Murdoch as chairman
All eyes will be on Lachlan when he officially steps into the position later this year.
Some reports have suggested that Lachlan is actually more aligned with the Conservative right than his father.
In previous years, he also maintained that Fox News wouldn’t change its political stance despite the channel facing mounting criticism in recent years over its coverage.
While Lachlan hasn’t necessarily publicised his political stance, he appeared to confirm his backing of Fox and what it represents when he said: “No, I’m not embarrassed by what they do at all.
“You have to understand that Fox News is the only mass media company in America, in this country, with conservative opinion, with strong conservative opinion in prime time. It’s the only one, all right? It’s not one of a few, it’s the only one. And I frankly feel, in this country, we all have to be more tolerant of each other’s views.”