"Kathryn and James’ views on climate are well established and their frustration with some of the News Corp and Fox coverage of the topic is also well known," the spokesperson said in January.
Three former executives of News Corp, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age at the time that Mr Murdoch’s statement was unsurprising given his views on climate change and his difficult relationship with his brother, Lachlan, are well known.
"James and Lachlan are ideologically apart and will continue to be," one of the former executives said, while another said Mr Murdoch was looking to intentionally distance himself from the scrutiny his family was receiving. But the timing of Mr Murdoch’s abrupt exit on Friday is interesting given the fast-approaching US election.
Several weeks ago Mr Murdoch and his wife each contributed more than US$615,000 to a fundraising committee for former Vice President Joseph Biden, who is hoping to fight for the presidency against US President Donald Trump at the upcoming election. His resignation also follows the release of the BBC documentary The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty.
Ironically several people familiar with the family’s thinking believe Mr Murdoch has left at a time when the company is subtly watering down its support of Mr Trump. Some of its key mastheads including The Australian are also adopting a more centrist political approach, according to people familiar with the matter.