Cue the Succession music! Media magnate Rupert Murdoch has announced that he will stand down from his position as chairman of News Corporation and Fox News. The Australian business magnate’s son Lachlan will succeed his father in both roles. 

Murdoch Sr, 92, said he will assume a new role as emeritus chairman and will remain “involved every day in the contest of ideas” across his papers and news channels. 

News Corp, which publishes The Times and The Sunday Times, and Fox Corp which owns Fox News, has already been run by the father-son duo for nearly a decade. Lachlan, News Corp and Fox Corp co-chair paid respects to his father: “We thank him for his vision, his pioneering spirit, his steadfast determination and the enduring legacy he leaves to the companies he founded and countless people he has impacted. We are grateful that he will serve as chairman emeritus and know he will continue to provide valued counsel to both companies.”

Rupert Murdoch started out in the newspaper industry in Australia in the 1950s. In 1969, he bought the News of the World and The Sun papers. In 1981, he bought The Times and The Sunday Times. News Corp also owns Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, The Australian and the publisher HarperCollins. In 2019, Murdoch sold the film production company 21st Century Fox to Disney for £71 billion. 

On his resignation, Murdoch was eager to dispel rumours that all may not be well at News Corp or with his health. He told employees: “Our companies are in robust health, as am I. Our opportunities far exceed our commercial challenges,” he wrote. “We have every reason to be optimistic about the coming years – I certainly am, and plan to be here to participate in them.”

He was also clear about his trust in his son: “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.”

But Murdoch Sr has been in charge of one business or another for 70 years and has been one of the most powerful men in the world for much of that time. Is it conceivable then that he is really standing down?

In reality, Murdoch is probably going nowhere. As emeritus chairman (whatever that means!), he admitted himself that employees “can expect to see me in the office late on a Friday afternoon.”

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