Lachlan Murdoch resigns from News Corp posts

MUMBAI: A shocker if ever there was one. In a move that was both unexpected and sudden, heir apparent to the $ 56 billion News Corp throne deputy chief operating officer Lachlan Murdoch, has resigned.


HEIR NO MORE: Rupert Murdoch & Lachlan

News Corp chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch made the announcement today that his eldest son had decided to quit from his executive roles with the company, effective 31 August.

Lachlan Murdoch said: “I have today resigned my executive position at News Corporation. I will remain on the board and I am excited about my continued involvement with the company in a different role.

“I look forward to returning home to Australia with my wife, Sarah, and son, Kalan, in the very near future. I would like especially to thank my father for all he has taught me in business and in life. It is now time for me to apply those lessons to the next phase of my career.”

Rupert Murdoch said: “I am particularly saddened by my son’s decision and thank him for his terrific contribution to the company, and also his agreement to stay on the board and advise us in a number of areas. I have respected the professionalism and integrity that he has exhibited throughout his career at News Corporation.

“His achievements include driving all of his reporting divisions to record profits and the New York Post to its highest-ever circulation. I am grateful that I will continue to have the benefit of Lachlan’s counsel and wisdom in his continued role on the Company’s board.”

33-year-old Lachlan joined News Corp in 1994 and has served in various capacities, most recently as deputy COO of News Corp and publisher of the New York Post.

Lachlan's departure potentially opens the door for News Corp president and COO Peter Chernin to some day take over from Murdoch as chairman, a possibility few took seriously till now. With Lachlan out, Rupert Murdoch remains the only family member on the executive board. What now remains to be seen is whether younger brother James will be inducted on to the board to replace Lachlan. James, 32, is CEO of UK-based BSkyB.

While some US-based media analysts have pointed to the possibility that the development "could solidify Chernin's role'', is of the considered view that when push finally comes to shove, Murdoch is more likely to go with the dictum of blood being thicker than water.

And as was the case with BSkyB CEO Tony Ball who had to make way for James at the helm of UK's most successful pay broadcaster, it looks difficult to visualise a similar scenario not unfolding when Murdoch's youngest son is "good and ready".

We would certainly not mind being proved wrong on this one though.

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