Conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch is stepping down as chair of Fox and News Corp on Thursday, according to The Wall Street Journal. Murdoch will exit his roles at both companies in mid-November and will be appointed as chairman emeritus of both companies.
“For my entire professional life, I have been engaged daily with news and ideas, and that will not change. But the time is right for me to take on different roles,” Murdoch reportedly wrote in a staff memo Thursday. “Our companies are in robust health, as am I.”
In true Succession style, Murdoch’s eldest son, Lachlan Murdoch, appears to be his heir apparent. Lachlan will be taking over as the sole chair of News Corp, the company that owns a vast number of newspapers, magazines, and television assets worldwide, including the likes of The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post. Lachlan will continue holding his positions as executive chair and the chief executive officer at Fox.
In a statement Thursday, Lachlan congratulated his father’s decision to step away from his massive media empire. “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,” Lachlan said.
For more than 70 years, Rupert Murdoch helped to shape the modern global media industry. His companies gobbled up other companies around the world, building one of the largest media empires in history. But his decision to step down comes amid a seismic shift in the media landscape he played a role in building.
Like nearly every other modern media organization, Murdoch’s companies have struggled to find new strategies to meet the demands of the digital age. Print and television news outlets (and digital-first ones as well) are still searching for ways to grow in an economy dominated by the internet and digital ad dollars. Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu have given Fox and its competitors, like CNN, a run for their money, forcing them to launch streaming arms as well, albeit not all that successfully.