Rupert Murdoch is stepping dwn as chairman of the board of Fox and News Corp. in November, the companies said today.

He will be appointed Chairman Emeritus of each company. Following the annual shareholders meeting in November, Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch will become sole chair of News Corp and continue as Executive Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Fox Corporation.

In a letter to employees, Rupert Murdoch said “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.”

Murdoch’s letter:

Dear Colleagues,
I am writing to let you all know that I have decided to transition to the role of Chairman
Emeritus at Fox and News. For my entire professional life, I have been engaged daily with
news and ideas, and that will not change. But 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.
Neither excessive pride nor false humility are admirable qualities. But I am truly proud of what
we have achieved collectively through the decades, and I owe much to my colleagues, whose
contributions to our success have sometimes been unseen outside the company but are
deeply appreciated by me. Whether the truck drivers distributing our papers, the cleaners who
toil when we have left the office, the assistants who support us or the skilled operators behind
the cameras or the computer code, we would be less successful and have less positive impact
on society without your day-after-day dedication.
Our companies are in robust health, as am I. Our opportunities far exceed our commercial
challenges. 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.
My father firmly believed in freedom, and Lachlan is absolutely committed to the cause. Selfserving 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.
Most of the media is in cahoots with those elites, peddling political narratives rather than
pursuing the truth.
In my new role, I can guarantee you that I will be involved every day in the contest of ideas.
Our companies are communities, and I will be an active member of our community. I will be
watching our broadcasts with a critical eye, reading our newspapers and websites and books
with much interest, and reaching out to you with thoughts, ideas, and advice. When I visit your
countries and companies, you can expect to see me in the office late on a Friday afternoon.
I look forward to seeing you wherever you work and whatever your responsibility. And I urge
you to make the most of this great opportunity to improve the world we live in.

“On behalf of the FOX and News Corp boards of directors, leadership teams, and all the shareholders who have benefited from his hard work, I congratulate my father on his remarkable 70-year career,” said Lachlan Murdoch. “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.” 

Murdoch’s departure as chairman comes at a turbulent legal time for Fox Corp. In April, it agreed to pay $787.5 million to settle a case brought by Dominion Voting Systems, which sued the company and Fox News over the latter’s coverage of the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.

The settlement was reached just as the trial was set to start in a Delaware court, with Murdoch set to testify. Already, a trove of emails and internal information had been made public in the case, showing that Murdoch expressed doubts about Donald Trump’s unfounded election claims even though Fox News personalities and guests were amplifying them.

The elder Murdoch also had gone through a deposition in which he admitted that some Fox hosts “endorsed” the false election claims. Fox faces additional legal exposure, as another election systems company, Smartmatic, is suing for $2.7 billion, although a trial has yet to be scheduled.

Murdoch stepping down also comes as a new book by Michael Wolff on the media mogul is about to come out. The Fall examines the recent turbulence at Fox and postulates the end of the Murdochs’ influence and power. Wolff, who penned a bio of Murdoch several years ago, also predicts a chaotic succession path – a prophecy undercut by today’s announcement.

Lachlan has been the heir apparent for some time following years of speculation over which of Murdoch’s progeny would inherit the reins of the family holdings. Lachlan’s liberal-leaning younger brother James held top positions across News Coro. as well but gradually distanced himself from the company, resigning from the board in 2020.

Dominic Patten contributed to this story

More to come…

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