Who is Lachlan Murdoch?
BACKGROUNDER | Rupert Murdoch’s son will soon take leadership of company’s media empire
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On Sept. 21, longtime media mogul Rupert Murdoch, 92, announced he would step down from his role as chair of Fox Corp. and News Corp. He nominated his elder son, Lachlan, 52, to assume leadership of both empires in November. Rupert will be named chairman emeritus.
What organizations does the Murdoch family empire include? In addition to Fox News, they include companies spanning the United States, the U.K., and Australia: The Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, The (London) Times, The (U.K.) Sun, News Corp. Australia, and HarperCollins Publishers.
What’s Lachlan’s background? The third of six children, Lachlan grew up in New York City and earned a philosophy degree from Princeton. His political beliefs reportedly mirror the conservative tendencies of his father, and Lachlan has personally donated millions of dollars to GOP candidates. While little is known about his specific policy leanings, biographers of the family say Lachlan plays a less involved role in editorial decisions than his father has, choosing instead to focus on corporate strategy overall. He is the only one of the six Murdoch siblings still involved in the family business. His younger brother, James, resigned from the News Corp. board due to disagreements about the company’s editorial decisions in 2020.
What about his business experience? For a time after his graduation, Lachlan helped manage the family business in Australia and then took on a more substantial role at Fox’s broadcast enterprises before stepping away from the company to pursue his own private investment company in Australia, called Illyria. When he returned to News Corp. as its co-chair in 2014, he helped the family navigate the fallout from a series of scandals that had forced the closure of one Murdoch publication, News of the World. The British tabloid shuttered in 2011 after its journalists were found to be hacking into and eavesdropping on the voicemail of people they reported on, including the royal family and writers at competitor publications.
What’s ahead for Fox News? Lachlan will have to help Fox navigate its own challenges. In April, Fox settled a defamation lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems for $787 million, avoiding a public court battle related to unproven 2020 election fraud claims. The company then fired its most-watched personality, Tucker Carlson, and in August said it would part ways with its chief legal counsel, Viet Dinh. While Fox News still leads competitors like CNN and MSNBC in viewership and has increased its overall revenue over the past five years, the company’s profits declined by 5 percent from 2021 to 2022, according to the Pew Research Center. Fox has not listed what changes, if any, may come as a result of the leadership transition.