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Fox confirms post-Disney exec structure

Disney CEO Bob Iger (left) and Rupert Murdoch

21st Century Fox has unveiled the executive structure of the proposed ‘New Fox’ group in the US, which will be formed if a proposed buyout of its other assets by Disney goes ahead.

As expected, there is no role at the news- and sport-focused firm for current 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch, who is expected to launch his own venture if the deal goes through.

His older brother Lachlan Murdoch will be chairman and CEO, with father Rupert becoming co-chairman. Lachlan Murdoch has been executive chairman of 21st century Fox since 2015.

21st Century Fox chief financial officer John Nallen will take a broader position as chief operating officer, but no role for the group’s current president, Peter Rice, was included in today’s announcement.

New Fox will house Fox News, Fox Business Network, Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox Sports and Fox Television Stations Group as well as sports cable networks FS1, FS2, Fox Deportes and Big Ten Network.

The Walt Disney Company agreed a US$52.4bn stock deal for other 21st Century Fox assets including its film and TV studios, US cable networks and international channels in one of the biggest media stories of 2017.

Disney will also take over a cable operation that includes National Geographic, FX and FXX, as well as a 30% interest in Hulu, giving it a controlling stake in the US streamer. The deal also includes stakes in European pay TV operator Sky and production giant Endemol Shine Group.

But the buyout is far from certain, with US media giant Comcast reportedly eyeing a rival cash bid last week.

Lachlan Murdoch said: “We have worked through the winter ‘standing up’ a reimagined independent Fox. I am very pleased that John has agreed to take on the role of chief operating officer, and together we look forward to making further announcements as to the management and structure of this new Fox as we get closer to closing our proposed transaction with Disney.”

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