Murdoch handing Fox reins to Hillary-backing son

January 13, 2016 in News by Slad

CHERYL CHUMLEY | 06/11/2015 at 2:38 PM

Rupert Murdoch and his sons, Lachlan and James


Rupert Murdoch, the long-time chief executive of 21st Century Fox, is poised to step away from his corporate role and name his son as his replacement, various media reported Thursday.

James Murdoch, who resigned from News International – the publisher of several overseas tabloids and newspapers – after a widely reported phone hacking scandal, will soon become the new CEO, CNBC reported. The elder Murdoch is reportedly staying on as chairman, though. And Lachlan Murdoch, the elder Murdoch’s other son, is going to be the executive co-chairman.

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It’s not clear when the transition would take place. Reuters said it was likely to occur by early 2016, at the latest.

Bloomberg reported the matter will be discussed at the next Fox board meeting.

The transition comes on the heels of several reported tiffs between Murdoch, Murdoch’s son, James, and Fox News chief Roger Ailes.

Ailes, for instance, reportedly called James Murdoch a “[expletive] dope” after the hacking scandal erupted, showing his disdain for the younger Murdoch’s ability to contain the situation, Media Matters reported. Lachlan has reportedly battled with Ailes over various issues, too.

Tensions with Ailes were said to be a contributing factor in Lachlan Murdoch’s decision to exit the company in 2005, according to press reports at the time. Ailes was named chairman of the Fox Television Stations Group following Lachlan Murdoch’s departure.

In 2014, Lachlan Murdoch returned to the fold, after being appointed as co-chairman of News Corp. and 21st Century Fox Inc.

Ailes told Variety he will continue to liaise with Rupert Murdoch through the transition: “My job is to report to Rupert, and I expect that to continue.”

The leadership switch isn’t likely to douse all the relationship fires.

“Rupert will need to appease Roger,” said Tuna Amobi, an analyst with S&P Capital IQ. “Even if it means that Roger Ailes is essentially given the freedom to run his own kingdom.”

New York Magazine elaborated.

The magazine reported Ailes’ “legendary temper and gyrating moods [have] made him stand out,” and he’s “said things that other executives just did not say.”

The media outlet also pointed to a clash of political opinions between the two media giants, Ailes and the elder Murdoch. Among their topics of dissenting discussion: China, gun control and immigration.

One senior level Fox producer summed it this way, New York Magazine reported: “Roger said Rupert doesn’t understand the threat of China. Roger doesn’t think Rupert understands the threat about the Middle East.”

The Murdoch family holds a 39 percent voting share bloc in Fox and News Corp., which owns and operates the Wall Street Journal and HarperCollins’ book publishing, Reuters reported.

Federal filings indicated James gave $2,300 to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. He also donated between $1,000,001 to $5,000,000 to the Clinton Foundation, according to Media Matters. The elder Murdoch, meanwhile, has donated to both Republican and Democratic campaigns, including those of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. Cory Booker and Rep. Steny Hoyer.

James is a Harvard University dropout who once worked as a cartoonist and a hip-hop label owner. He joined News Crop at the age of 23 in 1996.

Reuters reported his reputation is as a risk taker, like his father.

“James is a giant,” said Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of Fox’s top shareholders, during a recent interview with Reuters.