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Rupert Murdoch, 92, to step down as head of News Corp, Fox

Rupert Murdoch, 92, to step down as head of News Corp, Fox
© Reuters
Rupert Murdoch announces that he is to step down as chairman of News Corp and Fox from November after more than 70 years in the media business.

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has announced that he will be stepping down as chairman of News Corp and Fox from November.

The Australian entrepreneur, 92, has been in the business for 71 years, entering the UK publishing market in the late 1960s by taking over News of the World, latterly followed by The Sun and The Times.

Murdoch went on to form the innovative broadcaster BSkyB - latterly sold to US company Comcast - and acquired 20th Century Fox, in addition to more than 800 companies around the world.

The businessman has been an influential figure in the UK and US political landscapes for decades, with his backing constantly being courted by leaders of the main parties.

Over the last few years his operations have come under scrutiny for allegations of improper conduct however, with phone-hacking of celebrities at the News of the World leading to the closure of the 168-year-old newspaper and FOX News's coverage of unproven election fraud in the 2020 US election costing the company almost $800m (£650m).

Murdoch will be replaced in his roles of chairman of both companies by his son Lachlan Murdoch, 52, while he himself has been appointed to the role of 'chairman emeritus' at both.

"On behalf of the FOX and News Corp boards of directors, leadership teams, and all the shareholders who have benefited from his hard work, I congratulate my father on his remarkable 70-year career," said Lachlan in a statement.

"We thank him for his vision, his pioneering spirit, his steadfast determination, and the enduring legacy he leaves to the companies he founded and countless people he has impacted.

"We are grateful that he will serve as Chairman Emeritus and know he will continue to provide valued counsel to both companies."

In a letter to staff, Rupert insisted that he will remain an active part of his media empire, also denying that his decision was due to ill health.

"Our companies are in robust health, as am I," he wrote. "Our opportunities far exceed our commercial challenges. We have every reason to be optimistic about the coming years - I certainly am, and plan to be here to participate in them. But the battle for the freedom of speech and, ultimately, the freedom of thought, has never been more intense."

He added: "In my new role, I can guarantee you that I will be involved every day in the contest of ideas. Our companies are communities, and I will be an active member of our community.

"I will be watching our broadcasts with a critical eye, reading our newspapers and websites and books with much interest, and reaching out to you with thoughts, ideas, and advice.

"When I visit your countries and companies, you can expect to see me in the office late on a Friday afternoon."

An estimate of Murdoch's wealth a year ago put the figure at around $21.7 billion (£17.6 billion).

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