Two of Rupert Murdoch’s sons were named to new senior level posts at 21st Century Fox, possibly giving a clue to the media company’s founder’s plans for succession.
Lachlan Murdoch was named non-executive co-chairman of 21st Century Fox and James Murdoch was promoted to co-chief operating officer.
The company also said that Peter Rice agreed to extend his employment agreement as CEO of Fox Networks Group.
Lachlan Murdoch, 42, in his new post, will work closely with senior management and the rest of the 21st Century Fox board in developing global strategies and guiding the overall corporate agenda, the company said. He will split his time between Sydney, Australia, and New York. Lachlan Murdoch is a member of the board, but gave up executive positions at the company to pursue interests in Australia.
"Lachlan is a strategic and talented executive with a rich knowledge of our businesses,” Rupert Murdoch, 83, said in a statement. “From 1994 to 2007, Lachlan’s executive career at the company spanned the globe, culminating as Deputy Chief Operating Officer responsible for the group’s most important publishing businesses in addition to its vast U.S. television station holdings. I’m very pleased he is returning to a leadership role at the Company."
As co-chief operating officer, James Murdoch, 41, will work with president and COO Chase Carey to set the strategic direction and drive momentum across the company’s portfolio. He will have direct responsibility for Fox Networks Group, which will report to him. James Murdoch will also have direct responsibility for the strategic and operational development of the company’s interests in the pay TV businesses Sky and Star in Europe and Asia. James Murdoch is a director and had been deputy chief operating officer and chairman and CEO for the company’s international division.
“We are pleased to elevate James into this important role alongside my partner and trusted advisor Chase Carey,” Rupert Murdoch said. “I’m confident James and Chase will continue to make a great team during this time of immense opportunity. James has done an outstanding job driving our global television businesses and our shareholders, customers, and colleagues will benefit greatly from his many talents. This Company has never been better positioned to capitalize on the increased global demand for quality storytelling and news, and our collective future has never been brighter.”
While the company’s cable networks have grown, the Fox broadcast network has been in decline as ratings have dropped for its biggest hit American Idol. “Under Peter Rice’s leadership, Fox Networks Group has continued to push creative boundaries across the Company, and has grown tremendously with successful channel launches including Fox Sports 1 and FXX, an increased international footprint and enhanced sports offerings across the world,” James Murdoch said. “Chase and I are delighted Peter is committed to continuing to grow this incredible business and look forward to even more success in the years to come.”