Rupert Murdoch is stepping down as chairman of Fox and News Corp, leaving his eldest son Lachlan the sole executive of his media empire.
Murdoch, 92, said that he would take on a new role of chairman emeritus in November.
Murdoch wrote in a memo to staff that although his daily engagement with “news and ideas” would not change, the time was “right” for him to take on a different role.
He said that the “battle” for freedom of speech and freedom of thought, “has never been more intense” and that most of the media were in “cahoots” with elites who have “open contempt for those who are not members of their rarefied class.”
Murdoch also stressed that the companies – and himself – were in “robust health”.
Over seven decades Murdoch amassed vast wealth and influence through his ownership of some of the world’s largest news and media companies across the UK, US and Australia.
The news of Murdoch’s departure comes after Fox News was forced to pay a $787.5 million settlement to voting equipment company Dominion over falsely reporting that the 2020 US election was rigged against Donald Trump. The company faces a similar lawsuit from voting machine company Smartmatic.
Earlier this year, Murdoch withdrew a proposed plan to merge News Corp and Fox saying the transaction was “not optimal” for shareholders at that time.
In a statement, 52 year-old Lachlan – who will become sole chair of News Corp and continue as executive chair and CEO of Fox Corp – congratulated his father on his “remarkable” career and thanked him for his “vision”, “pioneering spirit” and “enduring legacy”.
“We are grateful that he will serve as Chairman Emeritus and know he will continue to provide valued counsel to both companies,” he said.
More from Tortoise
William and Rupert: the prince and press baron
Paul Caruana Galizia investigates whether Prince William reached a secret out of court settlement with Rupert Murdoch and News Group over phone hacking. What were the terms of the reported deal and how much money changed hands?
Murdoch: news vs the truth
What happened inside Fox News in those critical weeks following Donald Trump’s election defeat in 2020?