CNBC’s David Faber reported this morning that Rupert Murdoch plans on stepping down as CEO of 21st Century Fox. His sons, James and Lachlan, will take over his power and responsibilities. James Murdoch will serve as CEO of 21st Century Fox and Lachlan Murdoch will serve as co-executive chairman. Rupert Murdoch, 84, has been grooming his sons as his successors for years and they have been expected to be his successors.
However, Murdoch will continue to be active within the company. He will continue as executive chairman and have the final say on certain decisions. The set-up between Lachlan and Rupert is similar to that at News Corp., which was split off, along with 21st Century Fox, from the former News Corporation. At News Corp., Lachlan serves as co-chairman while Rupert serves as executive chairman.
The changes were not confirmed by 21st Century Fox, however a spokesperson did confirm that plans of succession will be brought up at the board meeting next week. The succession plans do not have a timetable yet.
One of 21st Century Fox’s must lucrative, and controversial, properties is Fox News. The President of Fox News, Roger Ailes, will continue to report directly to Rupert Murdoch, not James Murdoch. Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch have a very close working and personal relationship with Ailes joking in the past that Murdoch would walk into his office and stay for several hours, ruining his schedule. Reports have said in the past that Ailes is not as close with the sons and they do have differing political opinions from their father.