Rupert Murdoch is soon to step down as CEO of US-based media giant 21st Century Fox, according to sources from a report today.
Murdoch will hand over the keys to the company to his son James, CNBC reported cited various unnamed sources close to the media mogul’s family.
At 84 years of age, there has been growing speculation that Murdoch had devised a succession plan, with the most likely new boss being one of his children – James, former Network Ten chairman Lachlan and Shine Group founder Elisabeth.
An announcement is set to come in the “near term”, according to CNBC, though it is unclear when the reorganisation would take place. The report suggests Murdoch Sr. will remain as executive chairman of Fox, with Lachlan becoming a co-executive chair.
Furthermore, Fox co-COO and president Chase Carey will step down from his post and become an advisor. CNBC reported that he was expected to exercise a contract clause that allows him to leave immediately, he will remain in some capacity through 2016.
James and Lachlan Murdoch will reportedly work with their father in a “partnership” management group once the changes take place.
James Murdoch is currently co-COO of Fox, where he has been praised for his work following his tumultuous stewardship of Fox-controlled UK satcaster Sky, where he and his father became engulfed in the phone hacking scandal at British newspaper subsidiary News International.
He will oversee the day-to-day running of the business, while brother Lachlan will take on a broader strategic role.
If true, the news puts an end to one of the most-debated questions in world media and positions James Murdoch as among the single most-powerful people in the industry.
Fox’s assets include the Fox broadcast network and studio, global networks business Fox International Channels, pan-Asian pay TV broadcaster Star TV and a 29.1% controlling stake in Sky, which now encompasses satellite pay TV wings in the UK, Ireland, Italy and Germany.
It also owns 50% of Endemol Shine Group, which was formed this year upon the merger of Fox-owned Shine, Apollo Global Management-owned companies Endemol and Core Media Group.
Furthermore, Murdoch Sr. still controls publishing wing News Corp., though this was hived off of the more profitable entertainment business two years ago. News Corp still controls the Murdochs’ 50% stake in Australian pay TV giant Foxtel.