Lachlan Murdoch, son and heir apparent of News Corp chief executive Rupert Murdoch, on Friday stepped down from his role as deputy chief operating officer in a surprise move with implications for succession at the media company.
Lachlan Murdoch, 33, resigned from all executive duties but will remain on the board of News Corp. Lachlan Murdoch said he would return to Australia from New York, where News Corp’s corporate headquarters are based, to spend time with his family. His wife, the model Sarah O’Hare, was believed to prefer living in Sydney and they have a baby son, Kalan.
“I would like especially to thank my father for all he has taught me in business and in life,” Lachlan Murdoch said. “It is now time for me to apply those lessons to the next phase of my career.”
Rupert Murdoch said he was “particularly saddened” by his son’s decision and thanked him for his “terrific contribution” to the company, and for agreeing to stay on the board where he would advise in a number of areas. ”I have respected the professionalism and integrity that he has exhibited throughout his career at News Corporation,” Rupert Murdoch said.
”His achievements include driving all of his reporting divisions to record profits and the New York Post to its highest-ever circulation.” Lachlan Murdoch was widely believed to be Rupert Murdoch’s preferred successor. The resignation leaves James Murdoch, 32, the only remaining Murdoch heir in an executive role at News Corp.
James Murdoch is chief executive of British broadcaster BSkyB, where his older sister, Elisabeth Murdoch, was managing director before she bowed out in 1999.