Murdoch moves eldest son into chairman role

Oliver Smith
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RUPERT Murdoch yesterday took a key step in preparing News Corp and Twenty-First Century Fox for his eventual retirement by promoting his two sons into key leadership positions.

Murdoch’s eldest son Lachlan, 42, will return to the business as non-executive co-chairman of both News Corp and Twenty-First Century Fox, roles he will share with his father for the time being.

Lachlan was long rumoured to be the front runner to succeed his father, but he stepped down from his role as deputy chief operating officer of News Corp in 2005 after clashing with executives in New York which was seen as dashing his chances of succession.

“Lachlan is a strategic and talented executive with a rich knowledge of our businesses,” said Rupert Murdoch, who has always said he would like his children to be involved in the running of his sprawling media conglomerate.

“I’m very pleased he is returning to a leadership role at the company, where he will work closely with me, Chase, James, and the rest of the board of directors to drive continued growth for years to come.”

Meanwhile James Murdoch will take over as co-chief operating officer of Twenty-First Century Fox, a role he will share alongside Fox-veteran Chase Carey, as he moves back into the business after leaving his role in 2012 during the phone hacking scandal.

“I’m confident James and Chase will continue to make a great team during this time of immense opportunity,” said Rupert Murdoch on his appointment yesterday.

Murdoch’s News Corp empire was last year split into Twenty-First Century Fox, the TV and film business, and the new News Corp, the owner of newspapers and publishers around the world.

The Murdoch family controls both Fox and News Corp through a trust that has a 38 per cent ownership stake of shares with voting rights.

News Corp shares slipped 1.9 per cent to $17.03 yesterday, while Twenty-First Century Fox fell 1.4 per cent to $32.07.