Control of Rupert Murdoch‘s conservative media empire will soon be passed down to his eldest son, Lachlan Murdoch, as the mogul prepares for retirement.
On Thursday morning, Fox News announced that Rupert, 92, made the decision to step down as chairman of Fox Corp and News Corp in November, transferring his authority to Lachlan, 52, as he assumes an honorary “chairman emeritus” status.
America’s Newsroom co-host Bill Hemmer revealed the succession plan live on air, saying, “Our boss, Rupert Murdoch, is transitioning from chair of our parent company Fox Corporation.”
“In his note, Rupert says that for his entire professional life, he’s been ‘engaged daily with news and ideas and that will not change,'” Hemmer said. “And he says he will still be an active member of the Fox community, reaching out with thoughts and ideas as he does every day.”
Murdoch added that he and the companies are doing well, shutting down any potential speculation for his decision.
“Our companies are in robust health, as am I. Our opportunities far exceed our commercial challenges. We have every reason to be optimistic about our coming years. I certainly am and plan to be here to participate in them,” Rupert wrote in the letter. “But the battle for the freedom of speech and ultimately the freedom of thought has never been more intense. My father firmly believed in freedom and Lachlan is absolutely committed to the cause.”
In a news release, Lachlan congratulated his father for a 70-year career in media, saying, “We thank him for his vision and his pioneering spirit, his steadfast determination and the enduring legacy he leaves at the companies he founded and countless people he has impacted.”
Over the years, there was public speculation about each of Rupert’s four older children — Prudence, Elisabeth, Lachlan and James — and their potential to be the next leader. But Rupert himself was notorious for avoiding the topic: “Let the chips fall where they will,” he once said, according to The Irish Times.
In April 2023, Vanity Fair published an article indicating that Rupert believes a “Darwinian struggle” will produce the most capable successor. “He pitted his kids against each other their entire lives. It’s sad,” a person close to the family told the outlet.
Lachlan has long been a leader at News Corp and 21st Century Fox, and took over as executive chair and CEO of the Fox Corporation in 2019. The book Confidence Man by Maggie Haberman claims that Murdoch declared Lachlan his successor in a 2017 conversation with Donald Trump.
Lachlan studied philosophy at Princeton University, earning his B.A. in 1994.