Rupert Murdoch, the 84-year-old Australian-born media baron, says he will step down as head of the global media empire 21st Century Fox, ceding the reins to his son James.
A source has confirmed to NPR’s David Folkenflik that James Murdoch would become head of the company. The elder Murdoch will become co-executive chairman with another son, Lachlan.
NPR’s Yuki Noguchi reports that the company has not confirmed its transition plan, which was first reported by CNBC, but said in a statement that the issue of succession is coming up at a board meeting.
The Murdoch media dynasty includes not only Fox’s film and cable business, but also News Corp. and The Wall Street Journal. Sources say Murdoch will continue to be a force at both Fox and News Corp.
“This restructuring will not necessarily clarify which of Murdoch’s sons eventually takes over the running of the global media business.
“A spokeswoman for 21st Century Fox said: ‘The matter of succession is on the agenda at our upcoming, regularly scheduled board meeting.’
“The news was leaked ahead of this board meeting due to take place in New York next week.”
The elder Murdoch set the succession plan in motion last year by naming James co-chief operating officer at 21st Century Fox and Lachlan to the post at News Corp.
Reuters notes: “In interviews, some top investors who know James, and other people familiar with the company, describe him as curious and a risk taker like his father. But they also cite two big differences that they like: James is less sentimental about certain assets than his father and he is more enthusiastic about courting shareholders.”