James Murdoch Resigns From News Corp. Board of Directors

The unexpected decision comes over disagreements about editorial content

James Murdoch submitted his resignation from the Fox board Friday. Getty Images

James Murdoch, the younger son of media titan Rupert Murdoch, resigned from the board of directors of media giant News Corp. today over disagreements about the strategy of the company and over editorial content.

The resignation, which the company disclosed to investors Friday afternoon, was “due to disagreements over certain editorial content published by the company’s news outlets and certain other strategic decisions,” the younger Murdoch wrote in his resignation letter.

A company spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.

In recent months, James Murdoch, along with his wife, Kathryn, have issued public rebukes of some of the editorial content that has appeared in News Corp. publications around issues including climate change during the massive wildfires in Australia earlier this year.

News Corp. owns multiple newspaper, magazine and radio organizations in the United States, including The New York Post and Dow Jones, which publishes The Wall Street Journal and sister brands like Barron’s and Marketwatch. Internationally, the company owns several U.K. publications, including The Sun, publisher News U.K. and News Corp. Australia.

James Murdoch was CEO of 21st Century Fox, a predecessor company to the current Fox Corp., from 2015 to 2019. He left the company when most of the film and television production assets were sold to Disney last year. He told The New Yorker at the time, “I just feel very lucky to have the opportunity at this point to make a clean break and literally have an empty slate.” He and his siblings each walked away with a reported $2 billion following the sale to Disney.

His brother Lachlan Murdoch is now CEO of Fox Corp., which operates the cable networks Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network and Fox Sports along with recently acquired streaming service Tubi.

Their father, company founder Rupert Murdoch, 89, remains executive chairman of News Corp. and chairman of Fox Corp.

The Murdoch family is thought to be the inspiration for the Emmy-nominated HBO show Succession, which James Murdoch says he hasn’t seen. “There are only so many things you can watch,” he told The New Yorker in the September interview.

News Corp.’s board of directors will be reduced to 10 people with James Murdoch’s resignation. The company will report its fourth-quarter and full-year earnings on Thursday.

@kelseymsutton kelsey.sutton@adweek.com Kelsey Sutton is the streaming editor at Adweek, where she covers the business of streaming television.
@SaraJerde sara.jerde@adweek.com Sara Jerde is publishing editor at Adweek, where she covers traditional and digital publishers’ business models. She also oversees political coverage ahead of the 2020 election.