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Lachlan Murdoch will be Fox CEO if Disney merger passes, leaving room for James Murdoch to depart

  • Lachlan Murdoch will become chairman and CEO of the remaining parts of Fox, if the proposed Disney-21st Century Fox merger occurs. Rupert Murdoch would be co-chairman, the company says.
  • James Murdoch, who is currently the CEO of 21st Century Fox, was not mentioned in the announcement. A source tells CNBC he will leave the company after helping the transition.
Rupert Murdoch, center, with sons James Murdoch, (R) and Lachlan Murdoch.
Getty Images
Rupert Murdoch, center, with sons James Murdoch, (R) and Lachlan Murdoch.

Lachlan Murdoch will become chairman and CEO of the new Fox company that will be formed if the Disney merger is approved, 21st Century Fox said Wednesday.

But missing from the plans is James Murdoch, the current CEO of 21st Century Fox. A source told CNBC James, 45, is planning to lead the company through the transition, but leave Fox after the deal is complete. He made the decision to depart a few months ago.

Disney announced the deal to buy 21st Century Fox assets for $66.1 billion, including more than $52 billion in stock, in December. Given the original timeline of the Disney deal, it could mean James may be out the door in six months. The Wall Street Journal reported he will start his own venture capital fund focused on digital and international media investment.

Twenty-First Century Fox declined to comment on James Murdoch's plans.

Lachlan, 46, currently serves as executive chairman of 21st Century Fox. If the merger is approved, he will lead a company that will consist of Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox Sports, Fox Television Stations Group, as well as several local stations in major metropolitan areas, according to the company. It will also retain sports cable networks FS1, FS2, Fox Deportes and Big Ten Network, as well as rights to NFL, MLB, World Cup and NASCAR events.

Their 87-year-old father Rupert, who founded 21st Century Fox and News Corp, would serve as co-chairman of the new company, the statement said. In addition, 21st Century Fox Chief Financial Officer John Nallen will move over to the new company and become its chief operating officer.

— CNBC's Brian Schwartz contributed to this story.