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Media mogul Rupert Murdoch steps down as chairman of Fox and News Corp

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch steps down as chairman of Fox and News Corp

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Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has stepped down as chairman of Fox Corp and News Corp, marking the end of an over seven-decade-long reign in the media space. Murdoch’s exit will be effective as of the upcoming annual general meeting of shareholders in mid-November. His son, Lachlan Murdoch will become the sole chair of News Corp and continue as executive chair and CEO of Fox Corp.

A statement by the two corporations revealed that Murdoch will take on the title of chairman emeritus of each company. He wrote in a memo to his employees that the time is right for him to take on different roles, especially with “truly talented teams and a passionate, principled leader in Lachlan who will become the sole chairman of both companies.”

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“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. He added: “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.”

Regarding the future of the corporations, Rupert Murdoch said that the companies are in robust health, as is he. “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.” Emphasising faith in his son’s leadership capabilities, he said that Lachlan is committed to the cause of freedom of speech.

“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,” he said.

Rupert  Murdoch started out in the newspaper business in the 1950s and later purchased Twentieth Century Fox in 1985, along with several US television stations in 1986, creating Fox Broadcasting. Fox News and The Wall Street Journal are the notable cornerstones of Murdoch's empire.

Nearly a year ago, Murdoch explored reuniting Fox and News Corp., but decided against it when he split up News Corp. and Fox in 2013. The proposal came as audiences shrank for both print media and cable TV, as social media and online platforms started gaining more traction.

Fox and its broadcast and pay-TV networks are left over from the US$71.3 billion Twenty-First Century Fox sale to Disney in 2019. Fox, according to CNBC, has a market cap of more than US$15.5 billion. News Corp. has a market cap of more than $11 billion.

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