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Rupert Murdoch stepping down as chairman of News Corp. and Fox

Rupert Murdoch, the longtime head of News Corp. and Fox, will step down as chairman and take on the role of chairman emeritus, capping a seven-decade career that built a media dynasty ranging from cable television to tabloid newspapers and turned him into one of the world’s most influential media executives.

Lachlan Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s eldest son, will become the sole chair of News Corp. and continue as executive and CEO of Fox Corp, Fox announced Thursday. Rupert Murdoch will take on his new role at the companies’ next shareholder meetings, which are scheduled for mid-November. 

Rupert Murdoch, 92, exits News Corp. and Fox at a time the media businesses are facing a number of challenges, including the fallout from a bruising trial, and nearly $800 million settlement, over a defamation lawsuit after Fox News aired unfounded claims that Dominion Voting Systems equipment was used to rig the 2020 presidential election. 

Murdoch became one of the foremost media executives of the last half century by building an extensive network of tabloids, cable and broadcast TV, and entertainment assets, many known for espousing conservative ideas. He’s also one of the world’s wealthiest media executives, with a net worth of $8.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

In the statement, Lachlan Murdoch said his father would “continue to provide valued counsel to both companies.”

“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,” he said. 

“Time is right”

With Rupert Murdoch stepping back from a leadership role, Lachlan Murdoch’s role is solidified as his father’s successor, and he will oversee tabloids including the New York Post as well as Fox News and Fox Entertainment.

“For my entire professional life, I have been engaged daily with news and ideas, and that will not change. But the time is right for me to take on different roles,” Rupert Murdoch said in a memo to employees at the companies, according to the Wall Street Journal, which is owned by News Corp.

Murdoch’s personal life was nearly as colorful as the stories in the tabloids he owned, with the family’s internal power struggles said to have inspired the hit HBO series “Succession.”

Start in newspapers

Murdoch, a native Australian who later became a U.S. citizen, was born into the media business, as his father owned several Australian newspapers.

When Murdoch was studying at Oxford University, his father died, putting his 21-year-old son in charge of The News and The Sunday Times. Murdoch soon boosted the papers’ circulation by reorienting their coverage to focus on scandal, sex and crime — a formula he would hone over his decades-long career. 

In the 1960s, Murdoch began acquiring other Australian newspapers, eventually controlling two-thirds of that country’s newspaper circulation. In the 1970s, he expanded outside the country, taking over the News of the World and The Sun in the U.K. and The San Antonio Express-News, New York Post and Village Voice in the U.S. 

In 1985, Murdoch united several TV stations under the umbrella of Fox Corp. and then Fox News, which soon overtook ABC, CBS and NBC in viewership. 

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