Rupert Murdoch is officially handing over the reins of 21st Century Fox to his sons James and Lachlan next month, the company has confirmed.
James Murdoch will become chief executive of the media and entertainment giant on July 1, the company confirmed Tuesday. Lachlan, currently co-chairman of the company, will be made executive co-chairman alongside his 84-year-old father, who will take the same title.
In an unusual corporate structure, the company's business functions and its television and film operations will jointly report to Lachlan and James Murdoch. The company’s units include the 20th Century Fox movie and TV studio, the Fox broadcasting network and cable networks, including Fox News Channel.
The elevation of the two Murdoch sons had been expected and comes amid generational and technological changes that are upending traditional business models in the media and entertainment industry.
“It has always been our priority to ensure stable, long-term leadership for the company, and these appointments achieve that goal,” Rupert Murdoch said in a statement. “We, as shareholders and partners, will strive to take our company to new levels of growth and opportunity at a time of dynamic change in our industry.”
Chase Carey, the company's deputy chairman and chief operating officer since 2009, will relinquish his position and become executive vice chairman. Carey, who is widely respected on Wall Street, will serve in that new role through June 30, 2016.
Fox News Channel's chairman, Roger Ailes, had previously said through a report on Fox Business Network that he would continue to report to Rupert Murdoch despite corporate changes. The company's announcement did not specifically mention Fox News, but a person familiar with the matter said Ailes would officially report to the Murdoch brothers.
Although the elder Murdoch will let go of the CEO title, he is expected to remain deeply involved in Fox’s business affairs.
James Murdoch, 42, is currently co-chief operating officer and will report jointly to his father and the board of directors. Lachlan, 43, will report to the board, which includes his father.
The Murdoch family controls 39% of Fox’s voting shares.
For more entertainment business coverage, follow @rfaughnder on Twitter.