Rupert Murdoch is stepping down as the executive chairman of Fox Corporation and News Corp, the current incarnations of the media company he founded seven decades ago.
The announcement was made in a press release distributed by Fox on Thursday, in which the company affirmed Murdoch, 92, will transition to the role of chairman emeritus in November.
Murdoch’s son, Lachlan Murdoch, will succeed his father to become sole chairman of News Corp, the print publishing arm of the media empire that oversees Wall Street Journal parent company Dow Jones, book publisher HarperCollins and various newspapers in the United Kingdom and Australia.
Lachlan Murdoch will also continue in his role as executive chairman and CEO of Fox.
“On behalf of the Fox and News Corp boards of directors, leadership teams, and all the shareholders who have benefited from his hard work, I congratulate my father on his remarkable 70-year career,” Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement on Thursday. “We thank him for his vision, his pioneering spirit, his steadfast determination, and the enduring legacy he leaves to the companies he founded and countless people he has impacted. We are grateful that he will serve as Chairman Emeritus and know he will continue to provide valued counsel to both companies.”
Murdoch’s empire has its roots in the 1950s, when he took a local newspaper inherited from his father and built it into Australia’s first national newspaper. He later acquired a number of newspapers in the United Kingdom, including the controversial “News of the World” tabloid, and expanded into the United States through his purchase of the New York Post.
In the 1980s, he became an American citizen in order to satisfy regulatory requirements concerning his then-pending application to own broadcast licenses associated with his budding Fox network, which was successfully built into a rival “fourth network” that took on ABC, CBS and NBC with its edgier programming and premium live sports.
His influence on American politics became clear with the launch of the Fox News channel in 1996, a network that continues to offer a right-of-center perspective on the top current and political events. Fox News quickly became the highest-rated cable news channel in the country, and spawned the Fox Business Network in 2007.
Overseas, Murdoch made his mark on broadcasting with the launch of the Sky satellite television service in the United Kingdom and the establishment of the country’s first 24-hour news channel, Sky News. Both are now owned by Comcast.
In Australia, Murdoch built out his media company with the launch of Foxtel, a cable and satellite television service operated as a joint venture with Telstra since the 1990s.