Reports Rupert Murdoch to step down as CEO of 21st Century Fox with sons to be elevated

Lachlan Murdoch

Lachlan Murdoch

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch is reported to be planning to step down as CEO of 21st Century Fox in a move that would see sons James and Lachlan Murdoch take the CEO and executive co-chairman roles respectively.

News Corp owned The Wall Street Journal reports Murdoch will step down as CEO as early as this year in a move that is largely seen as succession planning for his media empire.

The move comes a year after Lachlan Murdoch was named co-chair of sister company News Corp and comes at a time of growing speculation about whether the Murdochs are preparing for a leadership change in its Australian operations. 

CEO News Corp Australia Julian Clarke, who came out of retirement to take the role, is being tipped to step down with local chief operating officer Peter Tonagh and former News executive – now CEO of APN News & Media – Michael Miller tipped as likely possible successors for News’s local arm which includes newspapers and pay-TV operation Foxtel.

Other contenders include Ten CEO Hamish McLennan and Foxtel CEO Richard Freudenstein.

Lachlan Murdoch is a major shareholder in Ten and also owns Nova Entertainment, which operates Nova and Smoothfm radio brands, through his private investment vehicle Illyria.

According to reports, under the new changes Lachlan Murdoch, who in recent years has been based in Australia, will now be based in Los Angeles with the company today declining to comment on whether Murdoch’s elevation at the sister company would have an impact on his position at News Corp or more broadly within the leadership of the publisher’s US and Australian operations.

The Australian Financial Review’s Rear Window column this week reported rumours that a shake up its News’ local senior editorial roles was also on the cards with Daily Telegraph editor Paul “Boris” Whittaker thought to be in line for a move to New York while Courier Mail editor Chris Dore could be brought to Sydney to replace him.

This week also saw the departure of veteran News Corp spinner Adam Suckling, who has resigned to be CEO of the Copyright Agency. Suckling was a long time associate of Kim Williams who remained with the company following his sudden departure in 2013.

Nic Christensen 


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