Australian-born media mogul Rupert Murdoch has told staff he will step down from his executive chair roles at News Corp and Fox in November.
The influential 92-year-old, who has revolutionised news and entertainment through his global media empire over seven decades, is not exiting the business entirely as he will be appointed chairman emeritus of each company.
‘‘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,’’ Murdoch wrote in a memo to staff.
‘‘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.’’
His eldest son Lachlan, who he described as a ‘‘passionate, principled leader’’, will replace his father as executive chair in both companies after their annual meetings.
‘‘My father [Keith] firmly believed in freedom, and Lachlan is absolutely committed to the cause,” Murdoch wrote.
‘‘Self-serving 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.’’
Lachlan Murdoch said ’’we are grateful that he will serve as chairman emeritus and know he will continue to provide valued counsel to both companies’’.
Murdoch started the Fox broadcast network, the first to successfully challenge the big three of ABC, CBS and NBC, in the 1990s.
Murdoch is a force in the conservative world, where Fox News Channel has profoundly influenced television and the nation’s politics since its start in 1996.
- Read more: The origin story of Murdoch’s meteoric rise
Murdoch took control of the No.2 newspaper in Adelaide, The News, in 1954, before embarking on a rapid expansion of Australian media assets that included the establishment of The Australian newspaper a decade later, and also buying The News of the World and The Sun tabloids in Britain.
He added The Times newspaper and Harper Collins book publishers in the 1980s, before the company finally acquired The Wall Street Journal in 2007.
But Murdoch’s foray into entertainment in the US, where he became a naturalised US citizen to allow him to satisfy the requirements to own US television networks, was where his empire expanded its reach.
In 1985 News Corporation bought Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, which later branched into Fox News and Fox Sports.
The right-wing ideologies promoted on the conservative Fox News has created controversy since then, with US President Joe Biden branding Rupert Murdoch “the most dangerous man in the world”.
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