Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has announced he is stepping down from his roles as chairman of Fox Corporation and executive chairman of News Corp.
He will become chairman emeritus of the two corporations from mid-November, Fox revealed in a news release on Thursday, meaning he will take on the duties of the chair during any absence of the chair.
The junior Murdoch, Lachlan, will take over from his father at the helm of both companies.
In a memo to employees on Thursday, and later made public by Fox, Murdoch wrote: “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, knowing that we have truly talented teams and a passionate, principled leader in Lachlan who will become sole Chairman of both companies,” the 92-year-old added, who has led the media giant since founding News Corp in 1980.
Murdoch went on to launch Fox News 16 years later, now the most-watched TV news channel in the US.
The media tycoon insists he will stay “involved every day in the contest of ideas” in his new backseat role, as he criticised elites and the media for being in “cahoots” and pursuing “political narratives” rather than the truth.
In the memo, he also stressed his health – and that of his companies – is in good shape, and he is “optimistic” about the years ahead.
Fox reported revenue of $3bn (£2.4bn) in August for its fourth quarter, in line with the previous year’s trading.
At the start of 2023, Murdoch scrapped a plan to tie up Fox and News Corp after shareholders expressed their lack of confidence in the merger.
Murdoch came under fire from UK lawmakers in 2011 when he was called to parliament for a questioning about the phone hacking scandal.
Claims alleged that his newspapers had tried to unearth details of the private lives of hundreds of celebrities, royals, and ordinary people by illegally hacking into their voicemail boxes.
He apologised, saying: “This is the most humble day of my life.”
Paolo Pescatore, media analyst at PP Foresight, said Murdoch’s decision to throw in the towel “seems a bit out of the blue” as he has not previously expressed any sign of this.
“He’s had a significant impact, one that cannot be underestimated from content creation, delivery and the way users access media across connected devices.”
But his son now has “big boots to fill” and this will not be an easy gig, given how sprawling Murdoch’s empire is.
“Lachlan’s first job will be to manage this transition as smoothly and seamless as possible to ensure no instability,” Pescatore said.