The media and entertainment industry has been taken by surprise by the announcement Rupert Murdoch is stepping down as chairman of News Corp and Fox.
In a statement, Murdoch said he was in good health and was “truly proud of what we have achieved collectively through the decades”.
He will hand over the reins to his son Lachlan in November, who steps up from his role as executive chair of Fox Corporation and Nova Entertainment.
Rupert Murdoch added: “The time is right for me to take on different roles, knowing that we have truly talented teams and a passionate, principled leader in Lachlan who will become sole chairman of both companies.”
Among the people thanked by Murdoch are “the skilled operators behind the cameras or the computer code”.
Speaking to TVBEurope about the 92-year-old’s decision to step down, media analyst Paolo Pesctaore said Murodch’s decision has come “out of the blue as he has not shown a willingness to throw in the towel”.
“Undoubtedly he will still be involved and not want to remove himself entirely given the media empire he has created. It is always hard to let go, even though we are not getting any younger.”
Pescatore went on to say that Murdoch has had a “significant” impact on the media and entertainment industry, adding that it “cannot be underestimated from content creation to delivery and the way users access media across connected devices.”
Asked what he thinks the future will have in store for the company, Pescatore said Lachlan’s first job will be to manage the transition as smoothly and seamlessly as possible to ensure there is no instability.
“It is too early to say what the future holds and unclear what direction the company will take under Lachlan’s stewardship,” he added. “In the short term, there should not be any drastic changes given he has been heavily involved for some time. However, he will want to cement his own position and create his own legacy.”