Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Lachlan Murdoch replaces his father Rupert Murdoch, but still under the control of the tycoon

He “his father’s pawn”. Instinctively, this is the word chosen by a good connoisseur of the group to describe Lachlan Murdoch. A handsome 52-year-old billionaire, married to a former model, fond of climbing and sailing, but who will forever remain in the shadow of Rupert Murdoch, happy to act according to his wishes.

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“An investor” wise but “who does not seek to be a kingmaker” and have political influence like his father, corrects Paddy Manning, biographer of Lachlan Murdoch (The successor. The high-risk life of Lachlan MurdochSutherland House Books, 2022). “What really matters to you is the profitability of your business”explained in July.

Whether a vapid substitute or simply a quiet businessman, Lachlan Murdoch, the new chairman of the English-speaking world’s leading media group, will never have the stature or provoke as much controversy as his father. On Thursday, September 21, Rupert Murdoch, 92, announced that he would step down as president of Fox Corp and News Corp, the two companies that make up his group, in mid-November. He becomes “president emeritus” of the two entities. You will no longer have a seat reserved for their board meetings (but you will retain the right to attend if you wish). He is officially succeeded by his eldest son and third child, Lachlan, who has been the only one in the family at his side since 2018. He heads a group that includes Fox News and the Wall Street Journal in the United States, the Sun and the Times in the UK and 60% of Australian newspapers in terms of circulation.

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A “new role” for Rupert Murdoch

Make no mistake: Rupert Murdoch has no intention of retiring. In a note sent to his employees, the Australian-American states that he is in “very good health” and it is invented “a new role” defending freedom of expression. “My father proudly believed in freedom and Lachlan is absolutely dedicated to that cause. (…) Elites openly have contempt for those who are not part of their class, which is increasingly rare. Most media outlets are in cahoots with these elites and tell political stories instead of seeking the truth. In my new role, I guarantee I’ll be in this battle of ideas every day. »

He, who has always liked to be at the center of political influence, making and breaking the careers of prime ministers and presidents, seems to want to redouble his activity in this area. “I will watch our broadcasts with a critical eye, I will read our newspapers, our sites and our books. (he owns the American publishing house HarperCollins) with great interest and will share my ideas and advice. » Those who hoped that the papivore would disappear once and for all will be disappointed: “When I visit your companies and countries, you can expect to see me in the office until Friday afternoon. »

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