Rupert Murdoch to Step Down as 21st Century Fox CEO

Rupert Murdoch - H 2015
AP Images/Invision

Rupert Murdoch - H 2015

The 84-year-old media mogul will retain his chairman duties, with son James expected to become CEO.

Rupert Murdoch is planning to step down from his role as 21st Century Fox CEO, sources confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.

CNBC first reported the news, adding that Murdoch would be suggesting that his son James Murdoch, currently co-COO, be named his successor. The 84-year-old media mogul would continue to be executive chairman of Fox, with his son Lachlan, currently nonexecutive co-chairman, set to serve as executive co-chairman, a source said.

An announcement about the restructuring is expected soon, but it's unclear if the change would take effect this year or at the start of 2016. As part of the shake-up, Fox president and COO Chase Carey would step down from that role and take on an undefined advisory role at the company through the end of his current contract, up in mid-2016.

Rupert Murdoch will remain chairman, with one source saying he would not be "going anywhere."

A Fox spokesman would only say: "The matter of succession is on the agenda at our upcoming, regularly scheduled board meeting."

Elisabeth Murdoch, who decided last year to leave Fox unit Shine Group when it merged with Endemol and Core Group, is not expected to return to Fox in a corporate or other role, sources said. She has been focusing on her other investments.

Meanwhile, Murdoch-owned newspaper the New York Post ran a Reuters story on the news, while corporate sibling The Wall Street Journal posted a perfunctory item.

The new setup at Fox would mirror Murdoch Sr.'s role at his other company, News Corp. The mogul serves as chairman there, with Robert Thomson running day-to-day operations as CEO.

Industry observers have long predicted that James Murdoch would end up as CEO of 21st, while his brother has shown less interest in a day-to-day role running the business.

James Murdoch will remain based in New York and Lachlan will likely move from Australia to Los Angeles, sources said.

Carey's current contract runs through June 30, 2016. He had an option to call by midyear 2015 that allowed him to leave as early as the end of 2015.

Twitter: @georgszalai