Lachlan Murdoch wins his family’s ‘Succession’: Here’s how he took over the Fox/News Corp juggernaut


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Rupert Murdoch, left, and his son Lachlan in 2017..

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Key Takeaways
  • Lachlan Murdoch is the third-oldest of Rupert’s six children and his eldest son.
  • He and his siblings Elisabeth (55) and James (50), are from his father’s second marriage, while he also has half-sisters Prudence (65), Grace (22) and Chloe (20).
  • Lachlan Murdoch is already CEO and executive chairman of Fox, which controls the Murdoch family’s television assets including right-wing Fox News and Fox Sports, and will succeed his father as chairman of News Corp, the parent firm of the Murdochs’ print empire including the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post.
  • Murdoch helped oversee the $71 billion sale of the 21st Century Fox entertainment division to Disney in 2019, and also oversaw the decision to shell out a $787.5 million defamation settlement to Dominion Voting Systems over Fox News’ false claims of 2020 election fraud, and the decision to fire that network’s top-rated anchor, Tucker Carlson.
  • The move gives the younger Murdoch control of his family’s immensely powerful media conglomerate, effectively putting a bow on a generational power struggle that garnered a great deal of media attention.
  • Despite the day-to-day power, Lachlan still shares crucial voting rights with his siblings Prudence, Elisabeth and James in the family trust fund, which is the largest shareholder of both Fox and News Corp (each sibling has one vote while Rupert Murdoch has four).
Crucial Quote

In a letter Thursday to Fox and News Corp employees, Rupert Murdoch described his son Lachlan as a “passionate, principled leader.”

Key Background

Rupert Murdoch will remain involved as chairman emeritus for Fox and News Corp, telling employees he “plan[s] to be here to participate” in the companies’ “coming years.” For decades, the question of who Murdoch would tap to succeed him caught the public eye, especially considering how tight a grip Murdoch kept on his highly influential entertainment empire. A source close to the Murdoch family told Vanity Fair earlier this year Rupert Murdoch “pitted his kids against each other their entire lives” but Lachlan was the “golden child.” Yet, for years, James Murdoch was considered the likeliest heir to the family business as he worked his way up the ranks before he abruptly resigned from the board of News Corp in 2020 “due to disagreements over certain editorial content.”


In 2015, Rupert Murdoch named James Murdoch his successor as CEO of 21st Century Fox, but an accompanying move naming his older brother the executive co-chairman alongside his father was reportedly a “slap in the face” to James, who had spent far more time on day-to-day operations than his brother. James has been an outspoken critic of the far-right elements of his family empire’s bread-and-butter Fox News business, saying in a interview that his exit came as he became disenamored with the company’s tendency to “legitimize disinformation.” The left-leaning Murdoch told the New York Times in 2019 about his father, “We’ve been arguing about politics since I was a teenager.”

Surprising Fact

Lachlan Murdoch sued online Australian publication Crikey for defamation after the outlet called his family “unindicted co-conspirators” of the January 6, 2021 Capitol riots. Murdoch dropped the suit this April after Fox agreed to its near $800 million settlement with Dominion and later shared he paid $840,000 to Crikey to cover their legal fees associated with the case.

What We Don’t Know

Which character Lachlan Murdoch most closely resembles on Succession, the show based on the fictional billionaire Roy family in control of a right-leaning media empire mirroring the Murdochs. Though the show’s creator Jesse Armstrong has resisted direct comparisons between the two dynasties, Succession patriarch Logan Roy had four children, a son Connor from his first marriage who is uninterested in corporate life, and sons Kendall and Roman and daughter Siobhan from his second marriage. In Succession, Logan Roy died without naming a successor and a boardroom struggle landed his son-in-law Tom as CEO of the company he built. (For the record, this author’s opinion is that Kendall is a Lachlon clone). Both Rupert and James Murdoch told reporters they never watched Succession.

Forbes Valuation

Rupert Murdoch is worth $17.4 billion, making him the 96th-richest man in the world according to our calculations.

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