When he was young, pull-up competitions with his brother James would only end when their hands bled.
As an adult, Lachlan Murdoch has been steeped in the ethos of his father’s media empire for more than three decades.
Today it was announced that Rupert Murdoch, 92, is stepping down as chairman of Fox and News Corp after 70 years – and it will be Lachlan who replaces him.
Born at Wimbledon Hospital in London in 1971, Lachlan was the second child of his father’s second marriage to Anna Murdoch.
Although he came into the world in Britain, Lachlan was raised and educated as a member of New York high society.
Former Sunday Times editor Andrew Neil – who was once close to Murdoch – said in his book Full Disclosure that neither Lachlan nor his brother ever “behaved like spoiled rich kids” and that they were “always fun to be around.”
In his youth, he reportedly competed in pull-up competitions with his brother James, to the point that their hands bled. Above: Lachlan Murdoch (left) and his brother pose with their father at his 2016 wedding to Jerry Hall
Lachlan was schooled in his father’s business philosophy from a young age. Above: The couple in 1999
Lachlan was educated at the exclusive Aspen Country Day School in Aspen, Colorado and the Trinity School in New York and studied philosophy at Princeton University.
However, he would always have felt more at home in Australia, the country where his father was born and raised.
His half-sister Prue – the eldest Murdoch – once described Lachlan as the “King of Sydney”.
Unlike his old-school father, Lachlan is more laid back, as evidenced by the tribal tattoos on his arms.
Lachlan was trained in the newspaper business from a young age.
His father talked about the publications page by page at family breakfasts, commenting on the stories, the headlines and the way they were edited.
Murdoch proudly remembers how his son worked in a newspaper printing room when he was just 13 years old.
He spent time cleaning “all the oil and grease from the press,” according to friends cited by a New York magazine.
Lachlan joined his father’s business while still in his late teens. At just 22 years old, he was first appointed editor of the Brisbane Courier-Mail, which was one of the newspapers in Murdoch’s stable of Australian publications.
His father talked about the publications page by page at family breakfasts, commenting on the stories, the headlines and the way they were edited. Above: Lachlan was with his father and mother Anna at their home in New York in 1989.
Lachlan is seen as a young boy with his parents and younger brother.
Rupert Murdoch with his second wife Anna and their children Lachlan, James and Elisabeth
Rupert Murdoch with his second wife Anne and children Lachlan and Elisabeth in 1989
Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan attend the first day of Allen and Co.’s annual press conference in Sun Valley, Idaho on July 8, 2015.
He then became editor of the national title The Australian before he was 25.
In 2000, he moved to New York to become deputy director of operations for News Corp.
However, he is said to have found the transition from easy life in Sydney to the harsh corporate politics of New York difficult.
He also had to interact with his veteran boss Peter Chernin and Roger Ailes, the late Fox News boss.
Success came with the revival of the New York Post’s fortunes under Lachlan’s leadership.
However, he stunned his father in 2005 by choosing to leave News Corp, at a time when he held the third-highest position in the company.
In the meantime, her older sister Elisabeth had left the family business to create the production company Shine TV, which she made a success.
There had also been a big change for Murdoch. He had divorced Lachlan’s mother and married his third wife Wendy Deng, with whom he started a new family.
Lachlan married his wife Sarah, a former Wonderbra model, in 1999. Above: The couple in 1998, when they were engaged.
Lachlan and his wife Sarah are seen together at a birthday party in 2003
Lachlan and his wife met in Sydney. Above: The couple at a gala in New York in 2002
After leaving News Corp, Lachlan then turned his attention to a series of private business decisions.
He founded the private investment company Illyria in Australia and developed his own media portfolio, including buying part of the Network 10 television channel.
Lachlan lost his investment in the network when it went into voluntary administration and was subsequently bought by US company CBS.
But Murdoch’s eldest son returned to his father’s company in 2014 as co-chairman of News Corp and 21st Century Fox.
This return appears to put Lachlan above his brother and sister in any competition to succeed their father.
James, once considered the heir apparent, suffered a major reputational blow when the phone hacking scandal broke.
At the time he was head of News International (now News UK), the publisher of the now defunct News of the World.
He resigned from the News Corp board in 2020 citing “disagreements” over editorial content. He served as CEO of 21st Century Fox until 2019.
He is believed to be more liberal than his brother, who is said to be conservative like his father.
Lachlan became executive chairman of 21st Century Fox in 2015 and was named chairman and CEO of Fox Corporation in March 2019.
He played a major role in the rise of former Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson and was in charge when voting systems company Dominion filed a lawsuit against the company over its coverage of the election 2020 presidential election.
Fox paid $786 million in damages and the saga led to Carlson’s departure.
However, this episode clearly did not prevent Murdoch from naming his son as his successor.
Thanking his father after announcing his retirement, Lachlan said in a statement released today: “On behalf of the FOX and News Corp boards, management teams and all shareholders who have benefited from his hard work, I congratulate my father on his remarkable 70-year career.
“We thank him for his vision, his pioneering spirit, his unwavering determination and the lasting legacy he leaves behind in the companies he founded and the countless people he influenced.
Lachlan and his wife have three children together. Sons Kalan and Aidan were born in 2004 and 2006 respectively. Daughter Aerin arrived in 2010
“We are grateful that he will serve as Chairman Emeritus and know that he will continue to provide valuable guidance to both companies.”
A spokesperson confirmed Lachlan’s new role will start in late autumn.
He met his wife Sarah O’Hare, a former Wonderbra model, on a boat in Sydney Harbour.
The couple, who married in 1999, were introduced by fashion designer Collette Dinnigan, who later made Sarah’s wedding dress.
Lachlan and Sarah enjoyed a three-week honeymoon in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan and the Caribbean.
They have three children together. Sons Kalan and Aidan were born in 2004 and 2006 respectively. Daughter Aerin arrived in 2010.