Rupert Murdoch resigns from his position as chairman of Fox and News Corp. Thursday, the company announced that Rupert Murdoch would stand down as chairman of the board of both Fox Corporation and News Corporation. The change will take effect in November.
The 92-year-old Murdoch will be named chairman emeritus of each company. One of his sons, Lachlan Murdoch, will become sole chairman of News Corp. and continue to serve as executive chair and CEO of Fox Corp.
“Our companies and I are in robust health,” the senior Murdoch wrote in a note to employees. We have every reason to be optimistic about the upcoming years, and I intend to be present for their entirety. However, the struggle for freedom of expression and thought has never been fiercer.”
Murdoch is resigning after a turbulent year at Fox’s television network and shortly after the company agreed to pay a $787.5 million settlement in Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit over false claims that the company’s voting machines influenced the 2020 presidential election between President Joe Biden and Donald Trump.
Murdoch’s persistent role behind the scenes at Fox News was highlighted in the months leading up to the Dominion settlement. Murdoch stated in his deposition for the litigation that several network anchors repeated false claims in the months following the election.
Before the settlement, Dominion demanded that Murdoch, his son, and other key Fox talent and executives testify if a trial occurred.
This year also saw the departure of Fox News’s top talent, Tucker Carlson, followed by declining ratings before he was replaced.
Murdoch’s departure also occurred one year before the forthcoming presidential election in the United States. The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post are among the publications owned by News Corp. Fox, the parent corporation of the right-leaning television networks Fox News and Fox Business.
1954 the Australian media magnate debuted in the industry nearly seven decades ago. He began his newspaper career and entered the television industry in the 1980s. Fox News began broadcasting in 1996.
Murdoch stated in his note to employees that he would continue to be involved with news and ideas daily but that it was time for him to take on different roles.
Nearly a year ago, Murdoch considered merging Fox and News Corp., which would have consolidated his media empire’s leadership and reduced expenses. In 2013, Murdoch separated News Corp. and Fox.
The proposal was made as print media and cable television audiences declined. At the same time, readers and viewers increasingly obtain news and entertainment from online news, social media, and streaming services.
In January, however, Murdoch canceled the proposed merger. Murdoch had withdrawn the reunion proposal, explaining in a letter to the board that he and his son had “determined that a combination is not optimal for the shareholders” of either of the companies at the time.
The Murdoch family trust controls approximately 40 percent of the voting power of both corporations.
Fox and its broadcast and pay TV networks remain after Disney’s 2019 acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox for $71.3 billion.
The market capitalization of Fox, which increased marginally on Thursday, is more significant than $15.5 billion. The market capitalization of News Corp. exceeds $11 billion.
The Murdochs’ time and influence in the media have been chronicled in books over the years and loosely portrayed in the HBO series “Succession.” The upcoming publication of Michael Wolff’s “The Fall: The End of Fox News and the Murdoch Dynasty” is rumored to contain additional revelations regarding the Murdoch family, U.S. politics, and Fox News.
Read the complete note from Murdoch to employees:
I am writing to inform you of my decision to assume the position of Chairman Emeritus at Fox News. I have been engaged daily with news and ideas throughout my professional career, which will not change. However, the time has come for me to take on new responsibilities, knowing that we have incredibly talented teams and a passionate, principled leader in Lachlan who will become the sole Chairman of both companies.
Both excessive pride and false humility are not commendable traits. But I am genuinely proud of what we have accomplished collectively over the decades. I owe a great deal to my coworkers, whose contributions to our success have often gone unnoticed outside the company but which I greatly value. We would be less successful and have less of a positive impact on society without your daily commitment, whether you are the truck drivers who deliver our papers, the cleaners who work after we have left the office, the assistants who support us, or the skilled operators behind the cameras or computer code.
Our enterprises and I are in excellent health. Our opportunities vastly outweigh our commercial difficulties. We have every reason to be optimistic about the coming years, and I intend to be present for their entirety. However, the struggle for free speech and unfettered thought has never been more intense.
My father is a staunch supporter of freedom, and Lachlan is similarly dedicated to the cause. Self-serving bureaucracies attempt to silence those questioning their provenance and purpose. Non-members of the privileged class are treated with blatant contempt by the elite. Most media is in league with these elites, disseminating political narratives instead of seeking the truth.
In my new position, I will participate daily in the ideas competition. Our businesses are communities, and I will participate actively in our community. I will be observing our broadcasts critically, perusing our newspapers, websites, and books with great interest, and contacting you with my ideas and suggestions. You can expect me in the office late on Friday afternoons when I visit your countries and businesses.
I anticipate seeing you wherever you work, regardless of your responsibilities. And I urge you to take advantage of this excellent opportunity to improve our globe.