James, Lachlan Murdoch land key Fox roles

Rupert Murdoch has handed his sons Lachlan and James key new roles within his entertainment media group 21st Century Fox.

Lachlan MurdochLachlan Murdoch (left) has resigned from his role as chairman at Network Ten to become non-executive co-chairman of 21st Century Fox alongside his father, who is also CEO. He also takes the same role at publishing arm News Corp, where he was deputy COO prior to founding Ten investor Illyria in 2005.

James Murdoch (right), meanwhile, has been promoted to 21st Century Fox’s co-COO alongside current incumbent Chase Carey, who is also president and to whom he will continue to report.

As a result, Murdoch will take direct control of the Fox Networks Group and responsibility for 21st Century’s stakes in BSkyB, Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia in Europe and the Star pay TV companies in Asia.

James Murdoch1The news has been interpreted as Rupert Murdoch’s latest attempt at securing a succession plan for his sprawling media businesses, of which 21st Century Fox operates the Fox US broadcast channel and Fox International Channels and News Corp operates publishing assets and has a 50% stake in Australian paycaster Foxtel.

Lachlan Murdoch will split his time between Sydney and New York and work closely with senior management and the rest of the board to develop global strategies and guide overall corporate agenda.

“Lachlan is a strategic and talented executive with a rich knowledge of our businesses,” said Rupert Murdoch.

Rupert Murdoch headshot“I’m confident James and Chase will continue to make a great team during this time of immense opportunity,” he added. “James has done an outstanding job driving our global television businesses and our shareholders, customers, and colleagues will benefit greatly from his many talents.”

Additionally, Fox Networks Group chairman and CEO Peter Rice has extended his contract at 21st Century Fox.

Ten Network’s CEO Hamish McLennan has been elected chairman following Lachlan Murdoch’s departure.

The news comes days after 21st Century Fox delisted its remaining shares on the Australian Stock Exchange.