Rupert Murdoch was sent off with a sizzle reel.
On his last day as CEO of Fox Corp. Murdoch spent the morning in Los Angeles at the Fox Studio Lot in Century City, where he attended Fox’s annual shareholder meeting at the property’s Zanuck Theater.
But unlike News Corp.’s annual meeting. Earlier in the week, where Murdoch gave and delivered the opening speech, he was merely present at Fox’s annual meeting, leaving his chosen son Lachlan Murdoch to lead the proceedings, along with board members such as Chase Carey, former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
But first, the sizzle reel that summarizes Murdoch’s 70-year career, including his acquisition of 20th Century Fox, the launch of the Fox broadcast network and his deal to bring the NFL there, as well as the founding of Fox News.
“I want to be remembered, if anything, as someone who was a catalyst for change and good,” Murdoch said in a recorded interview to end the sizzle.
Then Lachlan took over with a more formal thanks:
“Dad, on behalf of the Fox Board of Directors, the leadership team, and all of the shareholders who have benefited from your hard work: We thank you for your vision, your insatiable curiosity, and the lasting legacy you leave behind the companies you founded Lives affected,” said Lachlan Murdoch. “We are grateful that you will continue to serve as Chair Emeritus, and I look forward to your continued guidance and contributions in the coming years.”
He then went through a corporate update on the company, touting ratings growth at Fox News, a strong start to the NFL season and viewership growth at Tubi, before discussing the work of Fox’s “courageous employees” in conflict zones.
“Our teams in the Middle East have been working around the clock in the most difficult and heartbreaking circumstances to bring our viewers the latest news, in-depth analysis and important commentary on this conflict,” Murdoch said. “In addition to the war, we have unfortunately also seen a rise in anti-Semitism both abroad and at home in our own communities. It is important that we all stand up, that we expose and combat all forms of anti-Semitism.”
Only two shareholders raised questions: One was whether the company’s executive compensation plan takes into account lawsuits like those brought by Dominion and Smartmatic (Fox board member Chase Carey says the “qualitative” and “quantitative” factors involved actually take performance into account ); and another asked whether Fox plans to bring Tubi to more international markets (Murdoch says they will, but will be “disciplined” about it).
The meeting lasted exactly 30 minutes, and with a blow from Lachlan Murdoch his father’s decades-long tenure at the helm of a US media giant ended.