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Murdoch's sons to become CEO, co-chair at 21st Century Fox

Published:Friday | June 12, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corporation.


Rupert Murdoch is preparing to hand over the CEO job at 21st Century Fox Inc to his son, James, while his other son, Lachlan, will become executive co-chairman, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

Murdoch, 84, one of the world's most powerful media magnates, will become executive chairman and remain deeply involved in the company, while his sons are to run the business in a partnership, the person said.

The person was not authorised to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The elder Murdoch will retain a grip on the corporation behind Fox News Channel, Fox broadcast network and the 20th Century Fox movie studio through a family trust that owns 38 per cent of the voting shares. He has been CEO since 1979 and chairman since 1991.

Chase Carey, the company's president and chief operating officer, will stay on in an advisory role through the end of his contract in June 2016.

Further discussion to take place

The moves will be discussed at a board meeting in the coming weeks, the person said.

In a statement, 21st Century Fox acknowledged the pending changes. "The matter of succession is on the agenda at our upcoming, regularly scheduled board meeting," it said.

Fox News and CNBC reported the news earlier Thursday.

The moves are the next step in the gradual handover of the company to the next generation of Murdochs. In March of 2014, the company elevated James, 42, to co-chief operating officer, while Lachlan, 43, was promoted to non-executive co-chairman.

The company started with a single newspaper in Murdoch's native Australia. He expanded it across many media platforms in Britain, the United States, Germany, Italy, and India.

He started the Fox network in the 1980s after ABC, CBS, and NBC had dominated for a half-century. Then he tackled cable TV with Fox News, which quickly toppled CNN as the cable news leader.

But his newspapers have had a harder time. A phone-hacking scandal in the United Kingdom stung the company. Under pressure from investors, he split the original News Corp into print and entertainment companies in 2013.

Murdoch is also the executive chairman at News Corp, the company that now contains The Wall Street Journal and New York Post newspapers and book publisher HarperCollins.