Mogul Rupert Murdoch is preparing to give up his post as CEO of 21st Century Fox and put his son James in charge of the giant media company, according to multiple reports.
The 84-year-old Murdoch would continue as executive chairman of the company. His other son Lachlan would become executive co-chairman.
Chief operating officer Chase Carey, seen as a stabilizing force by Wall Street investors wary of some of Murdoch's gambles, is expected to leave his executive position. He recently signed a contract that gave him an out to leave the company early.
In a statement, 21st Century Fox said, "The matter of succession is on the agenda at our upcoming, regularly scheduled board meeting."
21st Century Fox has run into headwinds since splitting off from News Corp., which owns Murdoch's publishing holdings.
Before the spinoff, the Murdoch and News Corp. were engulfed in phone-hacking scandal at the U.K. newspaper News of the World. The company closed the paper and reached financial settlements with many of the people whose phone messages were intercepted.
Expected to be a fast-growing video content company, 21st Century Fox has encountered complications as its strong existing cable networks businesses have been offset by additional investments in cable, foreign-currency issues and declining ratings and revenues at the Fox broadcast network in the U.S.
Last year, Murdoch stirred up the industry by making an $85 billion bid for Time Warner. Time Warner rebuffed the move, and the takeover offer was withdrawn.
Murdoch's sons were given new positions with the company in 2014, fueling speculation about succession plans.
James was named co-chief operating officer and Lachlan was named non-executive co-chairman.
"We are pleased to elevate James into this important role alongside my partner and trusted advisor Chase Carey," the elder Murdoch said at the time. "I'm confident James and Chase will continue to make a great team during this time of immense opportunity. James has done an outstanding job driving our global television businesses and our shareholders, customers, and colleagues will benefit greatly from his many talents. This Company has never been better positioned to capitalize on the increased global demand for quality storytelling and news, and our collective future has never been brighter."
Murdoch called Lachlan "a strategic and talented executive with a rich knowledge of our businesses."
He noted that from 1994 to 2007, Lachlan's executive career at the company spanned the globe, culminating as deputy chief operating officer responsible for the group's most important publishing businesses in addition to its vast U.S. television station holdings.
"I'm very pleased he is returning to a leadership role at the Company, where he will work closely with me, Chase, James, and the rest of the Board of Directors to drive continued growth for years to come," he said.
Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.
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