Rupert Murdoch to hand over 21st Century Fox reins to son James. Who is the younger Murdoch?

Rupert Murdoch is expected to step down as CEO of 21st Century Fox, CNBC reported Thursday. His son James Murdoch will be handed over the position after a long and sometimes-bumpy career within his father's empire. 

Olivia Harris/Reuters/File
Rupert Murdoch, right) and his son James leave the Stafford Hotel in central London in this July 10, 2011, file photograph. Rupert Murdoch, the 84-year old chief executive of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc, is preparing to step down and name his son James as successor, CNBC reported..

Rupert Murdoch is reportedly preparing to step down as CEO of 21st Century Fox to hand off the title to his son James.

An announcement is expected in the near future, but it is uncertain if the changes in leadership roles will take place this year or in 2016, CNBC reported Thursday, citing sources close to the Murdoch family. The news is also being reported by the New York Times, citing people familiar with the matter.  Rupert Murdoch will stay on Fox as its executive chairman and his elder son, Lachlan, would become an executive co-chairman. James Murdoch will be in charge of Fox’s day-to-day management, though he will work alongside with Lachlan and their father.

In addition, CNBC reported the company’s COO Chase Carey will step down and take on a different role. This would mean that Fox would no longer have any kind of senior management from outside of the Murdoch family. However, James Murdoch has a multitude of business experiences and backings from several prominent figures that will help him transition to his biggest business role yet.

After graduating from the Horace Mann School in New York City in 1991, James Murdoch attended Harvard University, where he studied film and history and worked at the college’s satirical magazine The Harvard Lampoon, according to BBC. He ended up dropping out of Harvard in 1995 and started a hip-hop record label called Rawkus with his friends. Rawkus was churning out about $2.5 million in profits a year when News Corporation, his father’s media conglomerate, later bought the label in 1998.

Murdoch ended up working within several division of News Corp. with mixed results. He had high points: he turned around News Corp.’s Asian satellite service StarTV, which was losing £100 million a year when he took over in 1999, according to BBC. And he had lows: an Australian telecoms venture he started with Lachlan and James Parker crashed and burned in 2001. But his success with News Corp’s entities in Asia helped him secure the role of CEO at British satellite broadcaster Sky, in which News Corp. was its biggest shareholder.

Murdoch was the chair at both News Corp.’s subsidiary News International and Sky when a phone hacking scandal engulfed the Murdoch family and News Corp. in 2012, as reported by The Christian Science Monitor. He served as New International’s chairman when journalists at The News of the World, News International’s UK tabloid newspaper, allegedly hacked phones and bribed officials. The scandal led to the newspaper’s closure.

He would eventually be cleared of any wrongdoing in the phone hacking scandal. In 2013, he and his brother joined 21st Century Fox as directors, and James became co-COO last year. Several powerful figures have expressed support for the younger Murdoch to take on a bigger role in his father’s company.

Like his father Rupert, James is very hardworking person, said Saad Mohseni, chairman and CEO of the Afghan media company Moby Group, in which Fox holds a stake. "He doesn't get the benefit of the doubt,” he said to Reuters in April 2015. “For him, every step of the way he has to prove himself."

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who is friends with the Murdoch family and has a 6.6 percent voting stake in Fox, has been very clear that he wants James to step up at Fox.

"James is a giant!" the billionaire prince told Reuters in April 2015, adding that James understands the digital era’s effect on media. "I really love him!"

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to