Mur­doch to pass 21st Cen­tury Fox CEO job to son

The China Post - - WORLD BUSINESS -

Ru­pert Mur­doch pre­sented a suc­ces­sion plan at me­dia-en­ter­tain­ment con­glom­er­ate 21st Cen­tury Fox on Thurs­day, pass­ing his chief ex­ec­u­tive job to his son James and an­other key role to son Lach­lan.

A source close to the com­pany con­firmed the plan to AFP, say­ing James Mur­doch would as­sume the CEO job while el­der brother Lach­lan would be­come ex­ec­u­tive chair­man.

The plan is to be pre­sented next week to the board of di­rec­tors, the source told AFP.

But the 84-year-old Aus­tralian­born U.S. cit­i­zen who built the global em­pire does not plan a com­plete exit.

“Ru­pert Mur­doch is ex­pected to re­lin­quish the CEO role but re­main ex­ec­u­tive chair­man and con­tinue to drive the com­pany’s agenda,” the per­son said.

“Lach­lan Mur­doch is ex­pected to be named ex­ec­u­tive co-chair­man and he will work in close part­ner­ship with James Mur­doch ... The two of them will be a team and run the com­pany to­gether.”

The tim­ing of the plan is not clear. But CNBC, which first re­ported the news, said the change would take place later this year or in early 2016.

James Mur­doch, 42, will take over day to day man­age­ment at the New York-based com­pany, which op­er­ates the Fox stu­dios in Hol­ly­wood, and Fox’s tele­vi­sion op­er­a­tions in the U.S. and around the world.

The ca­ble news chan­nel, which com­petes with CNN and MSNBC, will con­tinue to be run by its pres­i­dent Roger Ailes, “re­port­ing di­rectly to Ru­pert Mur­doch,” ac­cord­ing to Fox News.

21st Cen­tury Fox was cre­ated two years ago when Mur­doch split the strug­gling pub­lish­ing opera- tions from his News Corp. em­pire from the faster-grow­ing me­dia and en­ter­tain­ment op­er­a­tions.

No News at News Corp

Ru­pert Mur­doch and his fam­ily re­mained in con­trol of both com­pa­nies af­ter the split. He is ex­ec­u­tive chair­man at News Corp. with his son Lach­lan, 43, listed as cochair­man.

At Fox, Ru­pert Mur­doch holds the ti­tle of chair­man and chief ex­ec­u­tive, with Chase Carey pres­i­dent and chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer and James Mur­doch the co-chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer.

Ac­cord­ing to the source, Carey was ex­pected to stay “in an ad­vi­sory role” af­ter the suc­ces­sion plan is im­ple­mented.

Ru­pert Mur­doch has spent a life­time build­ing his News Corp em­pire from a sin­gle Aus­tralian news­pa­per he in­her­ited.

He moved to Lon­don where his pur­chase of the weekly News of the World in 1969 gave him a high­pro­file foothold in the Bri­tish mar­ket.

He went on to buy The Sun, a daily which he turned into a popular and big-sell­ing tabloid.

The suc­cess of his popular news­pa­pers helped fi­nance his 1981 pur­chase of The Times and Sun­day Times, pres­ti­gious broad­sheets, de­spite in­tense op­po­si­tion from parts of Bri­tain’s estab­lish­ment.

He re­lo­cated to the United States where more bold ac­qui­si­tions fol­lowed and where he be­came a nat­u­ral­ized U.S. cit­i­zen in 1985.

The em­pire came un­der pres­sure in re­cent years from the slump in news­pa­per rev­enues and a scan­dal in the UK which led to the shut­down of News of the World af­ter the rev­e­la­tion the tabloid hacked into the phones of a mur­dered teenager and the fam­i­lies of dead sol­diers.

Mur­doch shut the News of the World in July 2011 fol­low­ing public re­vul­sion that it had hacked the voice­mail of a school­girl, Milly Dowler, who was later found mur­dered.

News UK has paid out mil­lions in out of court set­tle­ments in­clud­ing 2 mil­lion pounds to Dowler’s fam­ily.

The News Corp split in 2013 was aimed at “un­lock­ing value” in the print and en­ter­tain­ment op­er­a­tions.

In the lat­est quar­ter, Fox re­ported net in­come of US$975 mil­lion on rev­enues of US$6.5 bil­lion.

The com­pany also op­er­ates Na­tional Geo­graphic Chan­nels and lo­cal tele­vi­sion sta­tions, along with a stake in the UK’s Sky satel­lite tele­vi­sion ser­vice.

News Corp — which owns Wall Street Jour­nal par­ent Dow Jones — re­ported a profit of US$23 mil­lion on US$2 bil­lion in rev­enues over the same pe­riod.

AP

In this March 11, 2014 file photo, News Corp. Ex­ec­u­tive Chair­man Ru­pert Mur­doch, cen­ter, and his sons, Lach­lan, left, and News Corp Deputy COO James Mur­doch at­tend the 2014 Tele­vi­sion Academy Hall of Fame in Bev­erly Hills, Cal­i­for­nia.

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