He resigned from the board of directors of News Corp., the family’s publishing empire, saying he was getting the company out of “disagreement over certain published editorial content” from its news outlets. and from “certain other strategic decisions.”
James Murdoch, whose older brother Lachlan Murdoch serves as the CEO of Fox Corporation, had already left that family business, in part because of his distaste for Fox News.
But he had remained on the board of News Corp – something that had intrigued family friends.
Young Murdoch has repeatedly clashed with his father and brother over conservative political views, sometimes in public. He made a donation to Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg and stirred up a denial of climate change.
Remaining on the board of News Corp., he was “testing the proposal to make a change from within,” he said inside a person in an interview earlier this year.
Friday’s move indicates he has given up on that proposal.
The News Corp umbrella includes papers such as The Wall Street Journal and New York Post. This also includes the HarperCollins book publisher and a raft of newspapers in the UK and Australia.
A spokesman for James Murdoch had no other comments and said the letter spoke for itself.
In a joint statement, his father Rupert Murdoch and his brother Lachlan said, “We are grateful to James for his many years of service to the company. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”;
Those further efforts could include additional investments in news startups and other media ventures. He launched an investment company, Lupa Systems, in early 2019.
His Friday resignation from News Corp represents his growing distance from the family business.
But he is still connected to the family through the Murdoch Family Trust, which holds major voting shares in both companies.
Rupert Murdoch has four votes in the trust, and his four adult children have the other four votes. What happens in companies in the event of Rupert’s death is a constant source of speculation in the media industry.
On Friday night a source indicated that the resignation letter was not the result of any abrupt action in New York.
On the contrary, the source said, tensions had been building for months.
In January, for example, James and his wife Kathryn joined critics of covering Murdoch’s properties of fires in Australia.
A spokesman at the time said James and Kathryn had “well-established” views on climate change and were “particularly disappointed by the ongoing denial among news outlets in Australia given evidence to the contrary.”