Rupert Murdoch Steps Down as Fox and News Corp. Chairman, to Be Succeeded by Son Lachlan
The Legacy of Rupert Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch, an influential figure in the media industry, is stepping down as the chairman of two companies he controls: Fox Corp. and News Corp. This transition raises questions about the future of both assets. The chairmanship will be succeeded by Murdoch’s son, Lachlan Murdoch. Rupert Murdoch, at 92 years old, will assume an emeritus role while Lachlan takes over.
Rupert Murdoch has shaped national politics in the U.S., U.K., and Australia through his media empire. His companies operate Fox News Channel and The Wall Street Journal in the U.S., and The Times and The Sun in the U.K. The impact of Murdoch’s leadership is undeniable, as he built a media empire that greatly influenced the course of national politics.
Lachlan Murdoch expressed gratitude for his father’s 70-year career and acknowledged his vision, pioneering spirit, and determination. He stated that his father’s legacy will continue to impact the companies he founded and the countless people he has influenced.
The Challenges Faced by the Murdochs
The handover comes at a challenging time for the Murdochs. Earlier this year, Fox Corp. paid a substantial settlement to Dominion Voting Systems, a voting-technology company that accused Fox News Channel of defaming the company purposely. The settlement has resulted in shareholder lawsuits, and another defamation suit from Smartmatic is expected to begin in 2025.
In addition, Fox News Channel, a financial linchpin for the Murdochs, is facing viewership decline due to the shift from linear TV to streaming platforms. Conservatives are also migrating towards smaller media outlets like Newsmax or following individual hosts like Tucker Carlson, who has launched his own video podcast. The changing media landscape threatens Fox News Channel’s advertising revenue and distribution fees.
The Murdochs previously streamlined their holdings when they sold their cable and studio assets to Walt Disney Co. in 2019. This move proved to be foresighted, as cable networks have experienced gradual decline in the streaming era.
The Rise of Rupert Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch began as a print baron, taking over his father’s newspaper, the News of Adelaide. He expanded his empire into New Zealand, the U.K., and then the U.S. in the 1970s. Murdoch gained control of the San Antonio Express News and acquired the 20th Century Fox movie studio in the 1980s. In 1986, he launched the Fox broadcast network using the TV stations he controlled. The network began to challenge ABC, NBC, and CBS after Murdoch secured NFL rights in 1993.
Murdoch expressed his pride in collective achievements throughout the decades and acknowledged the contributions of employees who may often go unseen. He highlighted the dedication of truck drivers, cleaners, assistants, camera operators, and the skilled employees behind the scenes who have played a crucial role in the company’s success.
The Future of Murdoch’s Empire
There has been speculation about the potential divergence in direction between Murdoch’s heirs, including his sons Lachlan and James, and his daughters Elisabeth and Prudence. James is known to differ politically from his brother Lachlan, who aligns more with the right-wing and conservative programming that airs on Fox News. However, Rupert Murdoch emphasized that he will remain actively involved in the proceedings.
As chairman emeritus, he intends to be engaged in the contest of ideas and play an active role within the companies. Rupert Murdoch foresees watching broadcasts, reading newspapers, websites, and books within his media empire, while offering thoughts, ideas, and advice. He plans to visit countries and companies associated with the empire and make appearances in the office even late on a Friday afternoon.
Rupert Murdoch’s decision to step down as the chairman of Fox Corp. and News Corp. marks the end of an era. He leaves behind a legacy of media influence and political impact. The challenges faced by his media empire, particularly Fox News Channel, are significant, but the Murdochs must navigate the changing media landscape to ensure sustainable success. The transition of leadership to Lachlan Murdoch raises questions about the future direction of the companies but Rupert’s assurance of continued involvement provides some reassurance for stakeholders.
Whether this transition will shape a new era for the Murdochs’ media empire remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: Rupert Murdoch’s departure represents a significant shift in the media landscape, prompting reflection on his lasting impact on society, politics, and the media industry as a whole.
<< photo by JÉSHOOTS >>
The image is for illustrative purposes only and does not depict the actual situation.
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