James Murdoch Becomes CEO of 21st Century Fox on July 1

By Chris Ariens Comment

Roger Ailes with James Murdch (right) at the RTCA Dinner in 2010.

Following last week’s news of executive changes at 21st Century Fox, first reported by CNBC, the company is now making it official: As of July 1, James Murdoch will be Chief Executive Officer of the TV and film conglomerate. His older brother Lachlan, and father, company founder Rupert Murdoch, will become Executive Co-Chairmen, while Chase Carey has been named Executive Vice Chairman.

“It has always been our priority to ensure stable, long term leadership for the Company, and these appointments achieve that goal,” Rupert Murdoch says in a statement.

Lachlan and James are each talented and accomplished executives and together, we, as shareholders and partners, will strive to take our company to new levels of growth and opportunity at a time of dynamic change in our industry.”

Carey, the Company’s Deputy Chairman, President and COO since 2009, will remain with the company for a year, through June 30, 2016.

“I can’t thank Chase Carey enough for his friendship, counsel and leadership over the past decades,” Murdoch continued. He will be actively engaged in supporting Lachlan and James as they step in to their new roles.”

The company press release includes a joint statement from Lachlan Murdoch, 43, and James Murdoch, 42: “We are both humbled by the opportunity to lead, with our father and the talented team of executives at 21st Century Fox, this extraordinary company.”

The succession plan has been in the works for several years but took a pause when the family’s British newspapers became embroiled in a phone hacking scandal.

The Murdoch children have spent most of their adult lives in and out of the company, formerly known as News Corp., which split into two companies in 2012. Newspaper and publishing entities make up the current News Corp., while film, TV production, cable and broadcast networks are part of 21st Century Fox.

In 2002, Lachlan Murdoch was given responsibility for the oversight of Fox’s owned-and-operated TV stations in the U.S. That unit is now overseen by Roger Ailes, who is also chairman of the Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network. In the new arrangement, Fox says the “global television and film operations will now jointly report to Lachlan and James Murdoch,” which means Ailes would report to the them. However, insiders tell us Ailes will continue his “unique and longstanding” relationship with Rupert Murdoch.

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