He resigned from the board of directors of News Corp, the family’s publishing empire, and said he was leaving the company because of “disagreements over certain editorial content published” by its news outlets and “some other strategic decisions.”
James Murdoch, whose older brother Lachlan Murdoch is the CEO of Fox Corporation, had already left this country of the family business, in part because of his aversion to Fox News.
But he had remained on the News Corp, something that intrigued family friends.
The younger Murdoch repeatedly clashed with his father and brother’s conservative political views, occasionally even in public. He donated to Democratic presidential candidate Pete Butigieg and erupted in denial of climate change.
Remaining on the News Corp board, he was “testing the proposal for change from within,”
Friday’s move shows he has turned down the offer.
News Corp’s umbrella includes documents such as The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post. It also includes the book publisher HarperCollins and a number of newspapers in the United Kingdom and Australia.
James Murdoch’s spokesman had no further comment and said the letter spoke for itself.
In a joint statement, his father Rupert Murdoch and brother Lachlan said: “We thank James for his many years of service in the company. We wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
These additional ventures may include additional investments in news launches and other media companies. He launched investment company Lupa Systems in early 2019.
His resignation on Friday from News Corp represents his growing distance from the family business.
But he is still connected to the family through Murdoch’s family trust, which owns key voting shares in both companies.
Rupert Murdoch has four votes of confidence, and his four adult children have the other four votes. What happens to companies in the event of Rupert’s death is a constant source of speculation in the media industry.
A source said Friday night that the resignation letter was not the result of sudden action in New York.
On the contrary, the source said, tensions have been rising for months.
For example, in January, James and his wife, Catherine, joined in criticizing Murdoch’s cover of forest fires in Australia.
A spokesman said at the time that James and Catherine had “well-established” views on climate change and were “particularly disappointed by the continued denial among Australian news outlets, giving clear evidence to the contrary”.