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Murdoch Shuffle: Lachlan Returns to Fox, News Corp.; James Upped to Co-COO

Lachlan to be non-exec co-chairman at News Corp. and 21st Century Fox; James upped to co-chief operating officer at 21st Century Fox

LONDON — Lachlan Murdoch has returned to the fold to take a leading role within his father’s empire after several years’ break. Rupert Murdoch said Lachlan was a “strategic and talented executive with a rich knowledge of our businesses.” Meanwhile, Lachlan’s younger brother James has been given an elevated role within the hierarchy.

Lachlan Murdoch (pictured left) has been named non-exec co-chairman of News Corp., and takes the same title at 21st Century Fox. James Murdoch (pictured right) has been named co-chief operating officer at 21st Century Fox.

Speaking about Lachlan Murdoch’s appointment at News Corp., Rupert Murdoch, exec chairman of the company, said in a statement: “This appointment is a sign of confidence in the growth potential of News Corp. and a recognition of Lachlan’s entrepreneurial leadership and passion for news, digital media and sport.

“In this elevated role, Lachlan will help us lead News Corp. forward as we expand our reach and invest in new technologies and markets around the world. We have many challenges and opportunities ahead, and Lachlan’s strategic thinking and vast knowledge of our businesses will enable me as executive chairman and the company as a whole to deliver the best outcomes on behalf of our stockholders, employees and customers.”

Lachlan Murdoch is a director of both News Corp. and 21st Century Fox, exec chairman of NOVA Entertainment Group, which under his leadership became Australia’s number one national FM network, and exec chairman of private investment company Illyria. Until today, he also served as non-exec chairman of Ten Network Holdings, which is Australia’s third-ranked TV network.

Prior to founding Illyria in 2005, Lachlan was the deputy chief operating officer of News Corporation (now 21st Century Fox), a role in which he was directly responsible for two thirds of the company’s global revenue, with an emphasis on its U.S. television stations group and publishing assets.

Lachlan also had oversight of HarperCollins and the company’s lines of business in Australia, including REA. He also served on the board of Foxtel and as chairman of Fox Television Stations, and was publisher of the New York Post. At Fox Television Stations, he oversaw the company’s 35 owned-and-operated television stations.

As non-exec co-chairman at 21st Century Fox, Lachlan will work closely with senior management and the rest of the 21st Century Fox board in developing global strategies and guiding the overall corporate agenda. He will divide his time between Sydney and New York.

As co-chief operating officer at 21st Century Fox, James Murdoch will partner with Chase Carey, president and chief operating officer, to set the strategic direction and drive momentum across the company’s global portfolio of assets. He will have direct responsibility for Fox Networks Group, which will now report to him, and will also have direct responsibility for the strategic and operational development of the company’s owned and controlled interests in the pay TV services in Europe and Asia, Sky and Star respectively. He will continue to report to Carey.

As part of the shuffle, 21st Century Fox signed a new long-term contract with Fox Networks Group chief Peter Rice, who now reports to James Murdoch rather than Chase Carey.

James Murdoch serves as a director of both 21st Century Fox and News Corp., and until now had been 21st Century Fox’s deputy chief operating officer and chairman and CEO, international.

Speaking about the brothers’ appointments at 21st Century Fox, Rupert Murdoch, who is the company’s chairman and CEO, said, “Lachlan is a strategic and talented executive with a rich knowledge of our businesses. 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 continued, “We are pleased to elevate James into this important role alongside my partner and trusted advisor Chase Carey. 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.”

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