The heir who won an empire: How Lachlan Murdoch was brought up in New York high society but ‘never behaved like a spoiled rich kid’ as he pored through newspapers with his mogul father before growing up to inherit his life’s work
As a youngster, the 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 thirty years.
Today it was announced that 92-year-old Rupert Murdoch is stepping down from his role as chairman of Fox and News Corp after 70 years – and it will be Lachlan who replaces him.
Born in London’s Wimbledon Hospital in 1971, Lachlan is the second child of his father’s second marriage to Anna Murdoch.
Although born 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 were ‘always fun to be around’.
As a youngster, he would have had pull-up contests with his brother James to the point where 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 the ethos of his father’s business from an early 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.
Yet he would always have felt more at home in Australia, the country where his father was born and raised.
His half-sister Prue – Murdoch’s eldest child – once described Lachlan as the ‘King of Sidney’.
Unlike his old school father, Lachlan is more relaxed, as evidenced by the tribal tattoos on his arms.
Lachlan was trained in the newspaper trade from an early age.
His father discussed the publications page by page over family breakfast, commenting on the stories, the headlines and how they were edited.
Murdoch proudly recalled how his son worked in a newspaper printing shop at the age of thirteen.
He spent time cleaning “all the oil and grease off the press,” according to friends quoted by a New York magazine.
Lachlan joined his father’s company when he was still in his late teens. At just 22, he was first appointed manager of Brisbane’s Courier-Mail, one of the newspapers in Murdoch’s stable of Australian publications.
His father discussed the publications page by page over family breakfast, commenting on the stories, the headlines and how they were edited. Above: Lachlan was his father and mother Anna at their New York home 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 media conference. in Sun Valley, Idaho, July 8, 2015
Before he was 25, he became publisher of the national title The Australian.
In 2000, he moved to New York to become Deputy Chief Operating Officer of News Corp.
However, it is said that he found the transition from the easy life of Sydney to the harsh corporate politics of New York difficult.
He also had to deal with his veteran boss Peter Chernin and Roger Ailes, the late head of Fox News.
Success came with the revival of the New York Post’s fortunes under Lachlan.
However, he surprised his father in 2005 by choosing to leave News Corp, at a time when he held the third-highest position in the company.
By this time, his older sister Elisabeth had left the family business to found the production company Shine TV, which she made a success.
A major change had also taken place for Murdoch. He was divorced from Lachlan’s mother and married 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 focused on making a series of private business decisions.
He founded the private investment company Illyria in Australia and developed his own media portfolio, including the purchase of part of TV station Network 10.
Lachlan lost his investment in the network when it went into voluntary administration and was subsequently bought by US CBS.
But Murdoch’s eldest son returned to his father’s company in 2014 as co-chairman of both News Corp and 21st Century Fox.
The return seemed to place Lachlan above his brother and sister in any battle to succeed their father.
James, once seen as the heir apparent, suffered a blow to his reputation when the phone hacking scandal broke.
At the time he was in charge of News International (now News UK), publisher of the now defunct News of the World.
He resigned from News Corp’s board in 2020 over “differences” over editorial content. Until 2019, he was CEO of 21st Century Fox.
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 the Fox Corporation in March 2019.
He was instrumental in the rise of former Fox News host Tucker Carlson and was in charge when voting system company Dominion filed a lawsuit against the company over its coverage of the 2020 presidential election.
Fox paid $786 million in damages and the saga led to Carlson’s departure.
However, the episode clearly didn’t stop Murdoch from anointing his son as his successor.
Lachlan thanked his father after news of his retirement was announced, saying in a statement released today: “On behalf of the boards of directors of FOX and News Corp, the leadership teams and all the shareholders who have benefited from his hard work, I congratulate my father. father about his remarkable 70-year career.
“We thank him for his vision, his pioneering spirit, his steadfast determination and the lasting legacy he leaves to 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 he will continue to provide valued counsel to both companies.”
A spokesperson confirmed that Lachlan’s new role will begin at the end of this 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 went on to create 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.