Murdochs United, Separate Business and Politics, James Says

Updated on

The Murdoch family is united, 21st Century Fox Inc. Chief Executive Officer designate James Murdoch said.

Speaking at the Cannes Lions festival in France, Murdoch said he and older brother Lachlan see eye-to-eye on business issues and they had a good partnership.

Fox last week said Rupert Murdoch is stepping down as CEO and handing the title to James, marking a long-awaited generational succession. The elder Murdoch will be executive co-chairman along with Lachlan.

“I don’t let my politics get involved in my business,” James said in reply to a question about Fox News. One of his priorities will be to maintain “momentum” at the channel, he said.

Earlier Thursday 21st Century Fox said Roger Ailes had signed a new multi-year contract to continue to serve as Chairman and CEO of Fox News, Fox Business Network, and as chairman of Fox Television Stations.

The new contract settles a back-and-forth between Ailes and the company about who he reports to. Ailes will report jointly to Rupert, Lachlan and James Murdoch, according to Thursday’s statement.

When reports emerged that James Murdoch would replace his father as CEO, Ailes was quoted by Variety saying he would still report to Rupert Murdoch.

But when the sons’ elevation was announced on June 16, Fox said Ailes would report to James and Lachlan Murdoch. He “will continue his unique and long-standing relationship with Rupert,” Fox said at the time.

A Fox spokesman declined to comment on the reason for the change.

The costs for securing broadcasting rights to sporting events will probably continue to rise, James said during a panel discussion at the Cannes event, the advertising industry’s largest annual gathering.

The Murdochs control Fox, which owns film, cable and broadcast businesses, through a family trust, as well as News Corp., owner of the Wall Street Journal. The two companies were separated in 2013.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE