James Murdoch has resigned from the News Corporation board of directors, citing disagreements about the company’s editorial content.
In a resignation letter sent to the News Corp board dated July 31, Murdoch said his decision was effective immediately.
“My resignation is due to disagreements over certain editorial content published by the Company’s news outlets and certain other strategic decisions,” he wrote.
News Corporation has confirmed Murdoch’s resignation in a report to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.
“On July 31, 2020, News Corporation (the “Company”) received a letter from James R. Murdoch tendering his resignation from the Company’s Board of Directors (the “Board”), effective immediately,” it said.
“As a result of Mr. Murdoch’s resignation, the size of the Board was reduced to 10 Directors, effective upon such resignation.”
James Murdoch, the son of News Corp founder and executive chairman Rupert Murdoch, earlier this year broke ranks over the family company’s editorial direction and accused the global media empire of promoting climate denialism.
A spokesperson for Murdoch and his wife Kathryn told The Daily Beast website the couple was “particularly disappointed with the ongoing denial among the news outlets in Australia given obvious evidence to the contrary”.
“Kathryn and James’ views on climate are well established and their frustration with some of the News Corp and Fox coverage of the topic is also well known,” the spokesperson said.
Murdoch has been on the News Corp board of directors since 2013. He has continued serving as a News Corp board member since giving up his role as chief executive of 21st Century Fox, upon the 2019 sale of Fox entertainment holdings to Disney.
But he has played a less active role in the company than brother Lachlan, who is co-chairman of News Corp and became chief executive of the newly-formed Fox Corporation. Fox Corporation holds remaining assets not acquired by Disney, including Fox News.
Murdoch flagged he would make climate change-focused investments with his earnings from the Disney merger and step away from the family business.
In a statement following his resignation, Rupert Murdoch and Lachlan Murdoch said: “We’re grateful to James for his many years of service to the company. We wish him the very best in his future endeavors.”
Remaining News Corp board members include Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch as well as News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson, lead director Peter Barnes and director Natalie Bancroft.
They also include former US Senator Kelly Ayotte, former Spanish prime minister José María Aznar, and members Ana Paula Pessoa, Masroor Siddiqui and Joel Klein.
News Corp owns Australian newspapers including The Australian, The Daily Telegraph, The Herald Sun and The Courier Mail. It publishes The Wall Street Journal as well as UK outlets The Times, The Sun and The Sunday Times.
James Murdoch, News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch, News Corp, Editorial, 21st Century Fox, Lachlan Murdoch, Resignation, Board of directors
World news – AU – James Murdoch resigns from News Corp board