News Corp. said Friday that James Murdoch, the son of founder Rupert Murdoch, is resigning from its board of directors due to unspecified differences over editorial content. It’s the latest in periodic bouts of drama in the media dynasty. Youngest and liberal-leaning son James has had issues with editorial content before in the broader business of the family — a loose model for the one on hit HBO drama Succession — that also controls Fox News.
James and his wife, Kathryn each gave $615,000 to the Biden Victory Fund in June.
The board seat is James’ last formal role inside the company. News Corp. is the newspaper publishing arm of the Murdoch empire and parent of The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post and tabloids and newspaper in Britain and Australia. James’ older brother Lachlan Murdoch is co-chairman of News Corp., with his father, executive chairman and CEO of Fox Corp. and the only offspring still working in the family business. He and James had both clashed with the late Roger Ailes, the longtime Fox News chief who left the network in 2016 in the midst of a sexual abuse scandal.
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In a filing with the SEC, News Corp. said it has “received a letter from James R. Murdoch tendering his resignation from the Company’s Board of Directors (the “Board”), effective immediately. Mr. Murdoch informed the Company that his resignation was due to disagreements over certain editorial content published by the Company’s news outlets and certain other strategic decisions.”
Murdoch’s discontent blazed into public view early this year when he and his wife, who are advocates for environmental causes, publicly rebuked Fox News and family news outlets for downplaying the impact of climate change even as the worst bushfires in decades ravaged Australia.
James, 47, was mostly recently the chief executive officer of 21st Century Fox from 2015 to 2019 when most of its assets were sold to Disney. He was previously chairman and CEO for Europe and Asia of News Corp. until 2013 when it was split into News Corp and 21st Century Fox. He founded and runs a private investment firm called Lupa Systems. But he is still invested with the family through the News Corp, Trust, the holding in which Rupert Murdoch’s six children own equal stakes.
Rupert has a daughter Prudence from his first wife Patricia Booker. James, Lachlan and Elisabeth Murdoch, a successful television executive who founded Shine, are his children with second wife Anna Murdoch. He has two daughters, Chloe and Grace, from his marriage to Wendi Deng, which ended in an acrimonious divorce in 2013.
James Murdoch’s letter reads:
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I hereby tender my resignation as a member of the Board of Directors of News Corporation (the “Company”), effective as of the date hereof.
My resignation is due to disagreements over certain editorial content published by the Company’s news outlets and certain other strategic decisions.
James R. Murdoch
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