The media landscape witnesses a significant shift as Rupert Murdoch officially steps down as chairman of News Corporation, the print publishing arm of his media empire. Rupert, emphasising his continued active role, is set to become chairman emeritus of Fox Corporation, the parent company of Fox News, after Friday’s annual meeting.
During his final remarks to the News Corporation board, Rupert touched on topics such as artificial intelligence challenges, the detention of The Wall Street Journal’s Evan Gershkovich in Russia, and criticised the “intolerant elite.” However, he reserved special praise for his eldest son, Lachlan Murdoch, portraying him as a worthy successor.
Describing Lachlan as a “principled leader” and a “believer in the social purpose of journalism,” Rupert expressed confidence in his son’s ability to lead the publishing empire. Lachlan, 52, has been in senior leadership roles at Murdoch companies for decades and assumed the position of chief executive and chairman of Fox Corporation after Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox.
While Lachlan has been described as an aloof figure spending significant time in Australia, he has made notable business moves, including spearheading Fox’s acquisition of Tubi for $440 million in 2020. The focus, however, often shifts to the political ramifications, particularly with Fox News being a prominent Murdoch asset.
Lachlan, known to hold more conservative views than his father, has privately criticised some of former President Donald Trump’s behaviour. However, publicly, he has refrained from openly criticising Trump and has pledged “no change” in strategy at Fox News under his leadership.
As Rupert transitions to chairman emeritus, questions arise about Lachlan’s potential role as a GOP kingmaker, akin to his father’s influential position in American media and politics for decades. Observers are keen to see whether Lachlan will step into a more visible role or maintain his current stance of hanging back.Kiki Garba