Rupert Murdoch's exit as Fox CEO hints at a bigger digital future

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There's a big executive shakeup looming that could change the digital media landscape in the long run. Both CNBC and the Wall Street Journal report that Rupert Murdoch is planning to step down from the CEO role at 21st Century Fox, with his son James taking the reins. The media mogul will still hang around as an executive chairman (along with his other son Lachlan), like he does at News Corp, but he won't be so closely involved in day-to-day affairs. The handover would take place no later than 2016.

The move isn't surprising. Murdoch hasn't been shy about grooming his sons for succession, and even James' abrupt departure from BSkyB (now Sky) after the UK phone hacking scandal didn't deter that. However, it also signals a shift in online media strategy. CNBC understands that James Murdoch has been instrumental in Fox's recent digital push, which has focused heavily on streaming. Once he becomes CEO, that effort is likely to kick into high gear.

[Image credit: Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez/AFP/Getty Images]

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