Australian-born media titan Rupert Murdoch is stepping down as chairman of the board of both Fox Corp. and News Corp. the company said on Thursday.
The move will be official in November, CNBC reports, thus bringing to an end a media journey that began in 1952 when Murdoch took over the running of The News, a small Adelaide newspaper in South Australia owned by his late father.
Murdoch, 92, will be appointed chairman emeritus of each company. Lachlan Murdoch, one of his sons, will become sole chairman of News Corp and will continue as Fox Corp.’s executive chair and CEO.
Lachlan, born in 1971, has a net worth estimated to be around $3.3bn as of 2023, according to the Australian Financial Review.
“Our companies are in robust health, as am I,” the elder Murdoch said in a note to employees and seen by CNBC.
“We have every reason to be optimistic about the coming years – I certainly am, and plan to be here to participate in them. But the battle for the freedom of speech and, ultimately, the freedom of thought, has never been more intense.”
His father, who owned newspapers in Australia that helped launch Murdoch’s media empire, “firmly believed in freedom”, he says, adding his successor Lachlan “is absolutely committed to the cause”.
“Self-serving bureaucracies are seeking to silence those who would question their provenance and purpose. Elites have open contempt for those who are not members of their rarefied class,” he says.
“Most of the media is in cahoots with those elites, peddling political narratives rather than pursuing the truth.”
AP reports Lachlan Murdoch said by way of response, “we are grateful that he will serve as chairman emeritus and know he will continue to provide valued counsel to both companies.”
Ironically, this week author and Murdoch biographer Michael Wolff is publishing a book, The End of Fox News, speculating on the future of the network when the patriarch is gone after seven decades at the helm, AP notes.
The narrative is much the same as the story of a media family as played out in the hit television series Succession.
Rupert Murdoch has been married four times and has six children from his first three wives.