Rupert Murdoch is initiating his long-awaited succession plan, stepping down as chief executive of 21st Century Fox, according to CNBC’s David Faber. He will be replaced by his younger son, James. The 84-year-old media mogul will remain as co-executive chairman of both Fox and its sister company, News Corp.
The Murdoch family shuffle, which could take place as soon as this year, marks the ascension of James to run his father’s sprawling TV and movie empire, which includes the 21st Century Fox movie studio, and the Fox and Fox News TV channels. News Corp, which split from Fox in 2013, owns print assets including the Wall Street Journal and book publisher Harper Collins.
James’ prospects to eventually run the family business were damaged by his involvement with a newspaper hacking scandal in the UK, but he has been “winning fans” among Fox investors while serving as co-COO, according to CNBC. His brother Lachlan is the non-executive chairman of Fox.
Chase Carey, James Murdoch’s co-COO and a longtime executive for Fox and News Corp, is also leaving the company as part of the transition. Faber reported that “no one doubts that the elder Mr. Murdoch will still have the final say at whatever goes on at Fox.”
Fox was not immediately available for comment.