Rupert Murdoch's son Lachlan to become Fox CEO after Disney deal

Suzanne Scott

Suzanne Scott

It's no huge surprise that Lachlan Murdoch will serve as chairman and CEO.

21st Century Fox has unveiled the executive structure of the proposed "New Fox" group in the USA, which will be formed if a proposed buyout of its other assets by Disney goes ahead.

On Wednesday, Lachlan Murdoch, 46, said in a statement that "we have worked through the winter "standing up" a reimagined independent Fox". His son James, who was not mentioned in the press release, is expected to leave the company. Wednesday's news formalized a power structure that many had come to expect. That's because months ago James decided that he wanted to move on from the company to pursue something on his own after the Disney transaction closes, a person with knowledge of the plans told TheWrap.

His father, Rupert Murdoch, will assume the title of co-chairman of the company, while John Nallen, now 21st Century Fox's chief financial officer, will take a bigger role as chief operating officer.

"The new Fox will begin as the only media company exclusively focused on the domestic market; focused on what Americans love best - sports, news and entertainment, built and delivered for a United States audience", Rupert Murdoch said. Fox Entertainment Group chairmen and CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman are in advanced negotiations for a one-year contract extension to steer the division until the sale is finalized, sources say.

Disney has agreed to pay $52.4 billion for the Fox film and TV studio, FX Networks, National Geographic Partners, the regional sports networks and Star India. "The strengths of the new company, a leader in news, sports and entertainment, present truly unique opportunities". But that began to change after Lachlan rejoined the business almost a decade later.

John Nallen, Fox's current chief financial officer, will assume a broader role as chief operating officer. Speculation about James at the time of the deal centered on a possible role at Disney, where CEO Bob Iger's contract had been slated to end in 2019, and an heir apparent was not in place.

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