He resigned from the board of directors of News Corp., the family’s publishing empire, and said he was leaving the company because of “disagreements over certain published editorial content” over his communications and “some other strategic decisions.”
James Murdoch, whose older brother Lachlan Murdoch serves as CEO of Fox Corporation, had already left that side of the family business, in part because of his distaste for Fox News.
But he had stayed on the News Corp board, which had intrigued family friends.
Young Murdoch repeatedly clashed with the conservative political views of his father and brother, occasionally even in public. He donated to Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg and worried about denying climate change.
By staying on the News Corp board, he was “testing the proposal to change from within,” a secretary said in an interview earlier this year.
Friday’s passage indicates he has given up on that proposal.
The News Corp umbrella includes papers such as The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post. It also includes the HarperCollins book publisher and a number of newspapers in the UK and Australia.
A spokesman for James Murdoch had no further comment and said the letter spoke for itself.
In a joint statement, his father Rupert Murdoch and Brother Lachlan said, “We are grateful to James for his many years of service to the company. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”;
These further efforts could include additional investments in news start-ups and other media companies. He launched an investment company, Lupa Systems, in early 2019.
His resignation on Friday from News Corp represents his growing distance from the family business.
But he remains connected to the family through the Murdoch Family Trust, which holds key voting stakes in both companies.
Rupert Murdoch has four votes in the confidence and his four adult children have the other four votes. What happens to companies in the event of Rupert’s death is a constant source of speculation from the media industry.
On Friday night, a source indicated that the resignation letter was not the result of any abrupt action in New York.
On the contrary, the source said, tensions had been rising for months.
In January, for example, James and his wife Kathryn joined critics in covering Murdoch’s forest fire properties in Australia.
A spokesman said at the time that James and Kathryn had had “well-established” views on climate change and were “particularly disappointed with continued denial among the Australian media given evidence to the contrary”.