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Tags: Rupert Murdoch | Fox | CEO | son

Rupert Murdoch Set to Step Down as Fox CEO: CNBC

Rupert Murdoch Set to Step Down as Fox CEO: CNBC
Business Magnate and Media Mogul, Rupert Murdoch. (Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 11 June 2015 10:13 AM EDT

Rupert Murdoch, the 84-year-old chief executive of 21st Century Fox Inc, is preparing to step down and name his son James as successor at the entertainment conglomerate behind Fox News and the studio that makes "X-Men" movies, CNBC reported Thursday.

The elder Murdoch would stay on as chairman, according to CNBC. James Murdoch, 42, would work in tandem with his 43-year-old brother Lachlan in a "partnership," the CNBC report said.

One of two sources described the transition to CNNMoney as a "title change," with Rupert Murdoch still having the final say in whatever goes on at Fox. Another source told the Hollywood Reporter that Rupert Murdoch wasn't "going anywhere."

"Rupert Murdoch, who through the Murdoch Family Trust controls 39.4 percent of the voting shares at Fox, is not expected to change much of what he does day to day as chairman of both Fox and News Corp., but the change at Fox is clearly an acknowledgement that the next generation of Murdochs is ready to take its place in leading the media giant," CNBC reported.

It was unclear whether the reorganization would take place this year or at the start of 2016, CNBC said, adding "an announcement is expected in the near term." Fox said in a statement, without elaborating, that “the matter of succession is on the agenda at our upcoming, regularly scheduled board meeting,” Bloomberg reported.

In addition to the shuffle at the top of the organization, Fox COO Chase Carey will also step down and take an "undefined role as an adviser at the company."

"In the new leadership structure, the two younger Messrs. Murdoch will run Fox in a partnership very similar to the one currently in place between the senior Mr. Murdoch and Mr. Carey, with one focused on the long-term agenda and the other more focused on the company’s operations, though the roles will overlap," The Wall Street Journal reported.

"The most important thing in the immediate term is that Chase Carey not leave,” Needham & Company Inc. analyst Laura Martin told Reuters. "Wall Street really cares about Chase Carey running this business. So if the implication of Rupert handing the title to his son is that Chase Carey leaves in the near term, we would expect that to negatively impact the stock prices."

Fox shares were down 0.50 percent at $32.79, while News Corp. shares were off 0.23 percent at $14.61 in late trading.

Carey's stepping aside as COO will leave the very top of the organization solely in the hands of Murdochs for the first time, though sources told CNBC that investors thought James had "matured as a leader."

James reportedly is expected to have the primary role running Fox, while Lachlan will have a broader strategic role.

As of April, the Murdochs owned 39 percent of voting shares in Fox and News Corp., the company that operates newspapers like The Wall Street Journal and book publisher HarperCollins, through a family trust. Fox split from News Corp. in 2013.

A Harvard University dropout, James spent his early career as a cartoonist and co-founder of hip hop label Rawkus Records, which was bought by News Corp.

He joined News Corp. in 1996, at the age of 23 and was soon installed as head of the company's Asian assets, including Star India. Four years later, he was named CEO of BSkyB, now known as Sky, that is 39 percent owned by Fox.

Last summer, Fox made a failed attempt to acquire Time Warner in what would have been a deal that would have reshaped the media industry. This deal fell through after Time Warner declined to discuss the matter with Fox leadership.

The two companies are comprised of different types of media properties. News Corp.'s business is largely in publishing, with companies such as the New York Post and HarperCollins in its portfolio. 21st Century Fox is in the film and broadcasting business with holdings such as Fox News Channel and a host of Fox movie studios.

Rupert Murdoch's lucrative career spans several decades, beginning in the 1950s when he took over a company in his native Australia that owned a single daily newspaper. In the years that followed, the company acquired more newspapers in Australia and the U.K. By the 1980s, News Corp. acquired The Times and Sunday Times, as well as HarperCollins.

Meanwhile, some key investors have been warming to the idea that James has the ability to run Fox, Reuters reported.

In interviews, some top investors who know James, and other people familiar with the company, describe him as curious and a risk taker like his father.

But they also cite two big differences that they like: James is less sentimental about certain assets than his father and he is more enthusiastic about courting shareholders.

"James is a giant!" said Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a Murdoch family ally and one of Fox’s top shareholders with a 6.6 percent voting stake, in a recent interview.

© 2023 Newsmax Finance. All rights reserved.

Rupert Murdoch is preparing to step down as chief executive of the media-entertainment conglomerate 21st Century Fox and hand the job to his son James, CNBC television reported Thursday.
Rupert Murdoch, Fox, CEO, son
Thursday, 11 June 2015 10:13 AM
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