Lachlan Murdoch to succeed his father as chairman of Fox and News Corp

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Lachlan Murdoch, the eldest son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, is set to take over the reins of his father’s global media empire in November, according to announcements made by Fox Corporation and News Corp on Thursday. The 52-year-old heir will become the chairman of both companies, while Rupert Murdoch, 92, will step down and assume an emeritus role.

A conservative legacy

Lachlan Murdoch has been the CEO of Fox Corporation since 2019 and the chairman of News Corp since 2014. He is widely seen as the more conservative of the two Murdoch brothers, in contrast to his younger sibling James, who has expressed more progressive views on issues such as climate change and democracy. Lachlan’s political leanings are reflected in his stewardship of Fox News, the cable news channel that is a favorite among American conservatives and a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump.

Fox News has been at the center of several controversies in recent years, especially during the 2020 presidential election and its aftermath. The network amplified Trump’s baseless claims of widespread voter fraud and election rigging, which culminated in the violent storming of the US Capitol by his supporters on January 6, 2021. In April, Fox News agreed to pay a $787.5 million settlement in a defamation case brought by voting machine maker Dominion, which alleged that the network knowingly and repeatedly promoted Trump’s false narrative that the voting machines were part of a conspiracy to rob him of victory against Joe Biden.

A media titan

Lachlan Murdoch was born in 1971 in London but grew up in the United States, where he attended elite schools in Colorado’s Aspen and in New York. He graduated from Princeton University with a degree in philosophy and joined his father’s media business in 1994. He rose through the ranks and became the deputy chief operating officer of News Corporation in 2000, overseeing the company’s global operations.

Lachlan Murdoch to succeed his father

However, in 2005, he resigned from his executive positions and moved to Australia, where he founded his own media company, Illyria. He also became the chairman of Nova Entertainment, a radio network, and Ten Network Holdings, a television broadcaster. He returned to his father’s fold in 2014, when he was appointed as the co-chairman of News Corp and the chairman of 21st Century Fox, the entertainment arm of the Murdoch empire.

In 2019, after Disney acquired most of 21st Century Fox’s assets, Lachlan Murdoch became the CEO of Fox Corporation, the remaining entity that includes Fox News, Fox Sports, Fox Broadcasting, and Fox Business. He also retained his role as the chairman of News Corp, which owns The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, The Times of London, The Sun, The Australian, HarperCollins, and Dow Jones, among others.

A family affair

Lachlan Murdoch’s ascent to the top of his father’s media dynasty marks the culmination of a long and sometimes turbulent succession saga. Rupert Murdoch, who started his career as a newspaper owner in Australia in 1952, has built one of the most influential and profitable media conglomerates in the world, with a net worth of $23.4 billion, according to Forbes. He has been married four times and has six children from three of his marriages.

Lachlan Murdoch is the eldest of his four children with his second wife, Anna Torv, whom he divorced in 1999. His other children with Torv are James, 49, who resigned from the board of News Corp in 2020 over disagreements with the editorial direction of the company; Elisabeth, 53, who is the founder and chairman of Sister, a media production company; and Prudence, 63, who is the eldest of his children with his first wife, Patricia Booker, whom he divorced in 1967.

Rupert Murdoch also has two children with his third wife, Wendi Deng, whom he divorced in 2013: Grace, 20, and Chloe, 18. He married his fourth wife, Jerry Hall, a former model and actress, in 2016.

According to the announcements by Fox and News Corp, Rupert Murdoch will remain a significant shareholder and a board member of both companies, while Lachlan Murdoch will continue to serve as the CEO of Fox in addition to his new role as the chairman of both companies. The transition is expected to take place in mid-November, following the annual meetings of the shareholders of both companies.

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