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Rupert Murdoch on Tuesday raised the possibility of his eldest son Lachlan returning to a senior position in News Corp, a year after the media mogul’s one-time heir apparent left in frustration.
“Lachlan might come back,” Mr Murdoch told the Financial Times, saying he spoke to his son “two or three times a week” and they remained “very close”, in spite of previous tensions about Lachlan’s role in the company.
“There were absolutely no tensions in this building – none – except between him and me,” Mr Murdoch said of Lachlan, 35, the former deputy chief operating officer who remains on the board. “I begged him to stay.”
Mr Murdoch also dismissed as “absolute crap” reports of recent dissension among News Corp’s remaining executives. He was responding to Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, which alleged that Roger Ailes, chairman of Fox Television, and the executive who took over much of Lachlan’s portfolio, had rankled colleagues.
Mr Murdoch, 75, has made no secret of his desire to see one of his children take over the company he built into a global media empire. To secure his family’s control, he is currently in talks to buy back the 19 per cent of News Corp voting shares that have been acquired by John Malone’s Liberty Media.
As well as praising Lachlan, Mr Murdoch also pointed to the contributions of his younger son James, who is a rising force at News Corp as chief executive of its BSkyB division in the UK.
“James is running his own race, and very successfully,” Mr Murdoch said when asked if his son was planning to move to News Corp’s New York headquarters to take on a larger role.
Meanwhile, Mr Ailes looks set to see his job expand: Mr Murdoch said he was confident that the long-planned Fox Business Channel had moved closer to being launched.