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

  • Post category:news
  • Reading time:7 min(s) read

  • Lachlan, 52, was born in Wimbledon, London, but grew up in New York
  • He met his wife Sarah O’Hare in Sydney and the couple have three children

As a youngster, pull-up competitions with his brother James are said to have only ended 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 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 from his father’s second marriage, to Anna Murdoch.

Although he arrived 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 – told in his book Full Disclosure that neither Lachlan nor his brother ever ‘behaved like spoiled rich kids’, and were ‘always fun to be with’. 

As a youngster, he is said to have had pull-up competitions 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

As a youngster, he is said to have had pull-up competitions 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 firm from an early age. Above: The pair in 1999

Lachlan was schooled in the ethos of his father’s firm from an early age. Above: The pair in 1999

Lachlan was educated at the exclusive Aspen Country Day School in Aspen, Colorado and Trinity School in New York and studied philosophy at Princeton University.

READ MORE: Rupert Murdoch, 92, to step down as chairman of Fox and NewsCorp after 70 years – with son Lachlan set to take over 

Advertisement

However, he is said to have always 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 Sydney’.

Unlike his old-school father, Lachlan is more laid back – evidenced by the tribal tattoos on his arms. 

Lachlan was schooled in the business of newspapers from an early age. 

His father would talk through publications page by page over family breakfasts, commenting on the stories, headlines and how they were edited.

Murdoch proudly recalled how his son worked on placement in a newspaper print room when he was just 13. 

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 firm when still in his late teens. At the age of just 22,  first he was made manager of Brisbane’s Courier-Mail, which was one of the papers in Murdoch’s stable of Australian publications. 

His father would talk through publications page by page over family breakfasts, commenting on the stories, headlines and how they were edited. Above: Lachlan was his father and mother Anna at their home in New York in 1989

His father would talk through publications page by page over family breakfasts, commenting on the stories, headlines and how they were edited. Above: Lachlan was 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

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 Anna and their children Lachlan, James and Elisabeth

Rupert Murdoch with his second wife Anne and children Lachlan and Elisabeth in 1989

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 the annual Allen and Co. media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho July 8, 2015

Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan attend the first day of the annual Allen and Co. media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho July 8, 2015

He went on to become publisher of national title The Australian before he was 25. 

In 2000, he moved to New York to become deputy chief operating officer of News Corp.

However, he is said to have found the transition from easy-going to Sydney to the tough corporate politics of New York difficult.

He also had to interact with his veteran boss Peter Chernin and Roger Ailes, the late head of Fox News.

Success did come with the revival in fortunes of the New York Post under Lachlan’s stewardship.

However, he stunned his father in 2005 by opting to walk out of News Corp, at a time when he was in the third-highest position in the company. 

By then, his older sister Elisabeth had left the family business to set up Shine TV production company, which she made into a success. 

There had been big change for Murdoch too. He had divorced Lachlan’s mother and married third wife Wendy Deng, whom he started a new family with. 

Lachlan married his wife Sarah, a former Wonderbra model, in 1999. Above: The couple in 1998, when they were engaged

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 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

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 to making a series of private business decisions.

He founded private investment firm Illyria in Australia and developed his own media portfolio, including with the purchase of a portion of TV station Network 10.

Lachlan lost his investment in the network when it went into voluntary administration and was then bought by US firm CBS.  

But Murdoch’s eldest son returned to his father’s business in 2014 as co-chairman of both News Corp and 21st Century Fox. 

The return appeared to place Lachlan above his brother and sister in any contest to succeed their father. 

James, once viewed 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), the publisher of the now-defunct News of the World.

He resigned from the board of News Corp in 2020 citing ‘disagreements’ over editorial content. He had been the 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 as the Chairman and CEO of the Fox Corporation in March 2019.

He played a major hand in the rise of former Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson and was in charge when voting systems company Dominion brought a lawsuit against the firm for its coverage of the 2020 presidential election.

Fox paid out $786million in damages and the saga led to the departure of Carlson.

However, the episode clearly did not stop Murdoch from anointing his son as his successor.   

Thanking his father after news of his retirement was announced, Lachlan said in a statement released today: ‘On behalf of the FOX and News Corp boards of directors, leadership teams, and all the 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 steadfast determination, and the enduring legacy he leaves to the companies he founded and countless people he has impacted.

Lachlan and his wife have three children together. Sons Kalan and Aidan were born in 2004 and 2006 respectively. Daughter Aerin arrived in 2010

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 spokesman confirmed that Lachlan’s new role will start at the end of the 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 make Sarah’s wedding dress. 

Lachlan and Sarah enjoyed a three-week honeymoon that took 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.  




#heir #won #empire #Lachlan #Murdoch #brought #York #high #society #039never #behaved #spoiled #rich #kid039 #pored #newspapers #mogul #father #growing #inherit #life039s #work