Rupert Murdoch was sent off with a sizzle reel.
In his final day as executive chairman of Fox Corp., Murdoch spent the morning in Los Angeles on the Fox Studio Lot in Century City, where he attended Fox’s annual shareholder meeting in the lot’s Zanuck Theatre.
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But unlike News Corp.’s annual meeting earlier in the week, where Murdoch held forth and delivered the opening remarks, for the Fox annual meeting he was merely in attendance, letting his chosen son Lachlan Murdoch lead the proceedings, joined by board members like Chase Carey, former House speaker Paul Ryan, and former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
But first, the sizzle reel, recapping 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 to it, and creating Fox News.
“I’d like to be remembered, if I am at all, as someone who was a catalyst for change, and the good,” Murdoch said in a recoded interview to close out the sizzle.
Lachlan then took charge with a more formal thanks:
“Dad, on behalf of the Fox board of directors, the leadership team and all the shareholders who have benefited from your hard work: We thank you for your vision, your insatiable curiosity and the enduring legacy you leave to the companies you founded and the countless lives you have impacted,” Lachlan Murdoch said. “We are grateful that you will continue to serve as chairman emeritus, and I look forward to your continued counsel and contribution for years to come.”
He proceeded to run 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 noting the work of Fox’s “courageous staff” in conflict zones.
“Our teams in the Middle East have been working around the clock in the most challenging and heart-wrenching of circumstances to provide our viewers with the latest news ,as well as deep analysis and essential commentary on this conflict,” Murdoch said. “In addition to the war, we have also sadly witnessed a surge of anti-semitism both abroad and at home in our own communities. It is important that we all stand up, that we expose and address all forms of anti-semitism.”
Only two shareholders asked questions, one about whether the company’s executive compensation plan accounts for lawsuits like those from Dominion and Smartmatic (Fox board member Chase Carey says that the “qualitative” and “quantitative” factors involved do take performance into account); and another who asked if Fox plans on bringing Tubi to more international markets (Murdoch says they will, but will be “disciplined” in doing so).
The meeting lasted exactly 30 minutes, and with a bang of the gavel from Lachlan Murdoch, his father’s decades-long run atop a U.S. media giant came to an end.
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