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Lachlan Murdoch will succeed Rupert Murdoch as chairman of both Fox Corporation and News Corp, the elder Murdoch announced on Thursday. In a statement, Lachlan congratulated his father on a “remarkable 70-year career.” It’s certainly a poetic storyline in 2023, given that HBO’s hit series Succession, the drama inspired by the Murdoch family, ended in May with someone new atop the fictional throne.
So who is Lachlan Murdoch? Here’s everything you need to know about the “golden child” officially taking over the Murdoch media empire.
Which Succession character is Lachlan?
Let’s just get to it. In short: Lachlan strikes some similarities to Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) and Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin). But no character directly fits the mold.
Can you elaborate?
Like Succession’s Logan Roy, Rupert has multiple children from different marriages. His oldest child, Prudence, from his first marriage, has stayed out of the family business. Rupert had three kids with his second wife who have all held jobs in media: Elisabeth, 55; Lachlan, 52; and James, 50. Rupert’s two youngest, Grace and Chloe, are 22 and 20, respectively. But it’s Lachlan, the entrepreneur’s oldest son, who bonded with his father over business at a young age.
“As a schoolboy in Manhattan, [Lachlan] recalls nights up late, listening to his father at the dinner table hashing out strategies with famous guests,” read a 1998 New York Times profile. A Princeton graduate, Lachlan quickly rose through the ranks when he started working with his father, and in a 1997 interview, Rupert made it clear that Lachlan was the heir apparent.
“Currently it is their consensus that Lachlan will take over,” he said. “He will be the first among equals, but they will all have to prove themselves.” Rupert has publicly praised Lachlan’s “leadership abilities” and their shared love of newspapers.
However, Murdoch privately “worried that his easygoing son, who seemed happiest rock climbing, did not want the top job badly enough,” according to a Vanity Fair article. Still, Lachlan was known as the “golden child,” and this has been his job to lose.
Lachlan abruptly resigned from News Corp in 2005
After clashing with then-Fox News CEO Roger Ailes over the direction of the cable news network, Lachlan left his position as News Corp’s deputy chief operating officer. According to the New York Times, he was also unhappy with his father’s “overinvolvement in the running of the businesses.” Lachlan — who landed on the cover of New York magazine with the title “The Boy Who Wouldn’t Be King” — moved back to Australia, where he set up his own investment company, seemingly leaving his brother, James, first in line to the throne.
The prodigal son returned home a decade later
Lachlan rejoined the family business after some serious courting from his father, and became CEO of Fox Broadcasting and executive chairman at 21st Century Fox. A source told Reuters at the time that Lachlan had wanted to prove himself without Rupert’s backing. Lachlan became CEO of the Fox Corporation in 2019 after Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox. He’s been his father’s right-hand man ever since.
What are his political views?
Rupert and Lachlan share the same right-wing politics, unlike James. (In 2020, James resigned from the board “due to disagreements over certain editorial content published by the Company’s news outlets and certain other strategic decisions.”) The Daily Beast reported that Lachlan is even more conservative than his father, something the typically press-shy Lachlan made clear in a fiery speech last year. He was named in the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems that Fox settled for $787.5 million earlier this year.
What did Lachlan say about settling the lawsuit?
“We made the business decision to resolve this dispute and avoid the acrimony of a divisive trial and multiyear appeal process, a decision clearly in the best interests of the company and its shareholders,” he explained to investors in May.
Yes, Lachlan agreed to fire Tucker Carlson
Tucker Carlson’s shocking termination was co-signed by Lachlan and Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott, Insider reported. However, that wasn’t a condemnation on the opinion programs that have become a mainstay at the leading cable news network.
On the company’s earnings call in May, Lachlan declared that “there’s no change to our programming strategy at Fox News. It’s obviously a successful strategy, and, as always, we are adjusting our programming and our lineup, and that’s what we continue to do.”
Lachlan’s siblings could challenge his power when Rupert dies
Rupert controls News Corp and Fox Corporation through a family trust that holds roughly a 40% stake in voting shares of each company, according to Reuters. And he purportedly holds a small number of shares of the companies outside the trust. Each of his four older children has a stake in the trust.
According to Vanity Fair, Rupert has four votes while Elisabeth, Lachlan, James and Prudence each have one. (Chloe and Grace have a financial stake but no voting rights.) After Rupert’s death, his votes will be distributed equally among the four eldest children. That means three of the Murdoch kids — say, James, Prudence and Elisabeth — could outvote a fourth.
“The question is, when Rupert dies, how are the kids aligned?” a former News Corp executive mused in the magazine’s May cover story.
James and Lachlan reportedly don’t speak, but it’s unclear where their sisters stand. Although Elisabeth is politically liberal, she has remained close with Rupert and Lachlan, according to Vanity Fair. A source categorized Prudence as a “wild card.” But at least for now, Lachlan’s role as the leader of his father’s media empire is solidified.