Murdoch empire beneficiaries worth >$20m

February 5, 2024

This list tracks current and former operatives within the Murdoch empire and takeover beneficiaries who are individually worth more than $20 million and can thank Rupert and Lachlan for a substantial chunk of this wealth. We've got more than 50 so far and would appreciate suggestions to

Roger Ailes estate: Ailes was paid more than $200 million by the Murdochs after launching Fox News in 1996 through until getting fired with an outrageous $US40 million payout in 2016.

Tom Anderson: one of the 6 Myspace co-founders who reportedly took a $US10 million cut from the $US580 million sale to News Corp and then signed a rich $US30 million contract to incompetently run the division after the sale.

Walter Annenberg: arguably the biggest individual beneficiary of Murdoch largesse when News Corp bought his Triangle magazine business, publisher of the US TV Guide, for a ridiculous $3 billion in August 1988, a move which contributed substantially to its subsequent debt crisis in 1990-91.

Bancroft family: the estimated 30 members of the Bancroft family shared in more than $2 billion when they sold Dow Jones to News Corp in 2007, surrendering their 42% economic interest and voting control.

David Bitofsky: joined News Corp in New York as general counsel and chief compliance officer in 2012 and 11 years later is earning circa $5 million a year and being named in the company's 5 highest paid executives.

Rebekah Brooks: has been CEO of News UK since 2015 and was previously CEO of News International from 2009 to 2011 before taking time out courtesy of the phone hacking scandal. Was the youngest editor of a British national newspaper at News of the World from 2000 to 2003, and the first female editor of The Sun. Her pay is rarely disclosed.

Janet Calvert-Jones and family: Rupert's youngest sister received about $200 million of cash from Rupert during the 1990s when he bought his siblings out of the family trust.

James Cameron: this estimate has the Hollywood director worth $US800 million in 2023 and no doubt plenty of that came from Titanic, which was a huge risk for News Corp at the time before the world's most expensive movie also became the highest grossing movie ever.

Tucker Carlson: paid over $100m during his 14 year stint at Fox News which started as a political analyst in 2009 and then finished with a 7 year run with his own show until he was fired in 2023 after the $1.2 billion Dominion settlement and some barking mad pro-Russian commentary.

Paul Carlucci: retired from News Corp in 2014 after a 23-year career with the company, mainly running the controversial News America Marketing business, a publisher of coupons and in-store marketing products. Was also publisher of The New York Post from 2005 to 2012, which reported this tribute from Rupert when he retired: "Paul has been a close confidant and trusted colleague for more than two decades, and his contributions to our company and the people we serve are incalculable.”

Chase Carey: Irish-born executive who scored an MBA from Harvard and then joined News Corp in 1988 where he remains to this day as "lead independent director" of Fox Corp, amidst a variety of board and executive roles over the past 35 years which have paid him more than $100 million.

Gretchen Carlson: the former Fox News host was sexually assaulted by Roger Ailes and received a $US20 million settlement after suing in 2016.

Neil Cavuto: started at CNBC in 1989 and later moved to Fox News in 1996 and became the anchor and managing editor of the network's business news program. After 28 years with the Murdochs, this website puts his net worth at $US25 million and estimates he is paid $US7 million a year.

Peter Chernin: joined News Corp in 1989 and then had a long run as President and COO of the Fox Group from 1996 until his departure in 2009 when he secured an extraordinary payout that required News Corp to finance up to 6 of his films. He used this capital to help establish Chernin Group which has been a media and tech investor for the past 13 years.

Sam Chisholm estate:
made his name running Channel Nine for Kerry Packer and then made his fortune running BSkyB for Rupert Murdoch for a decade until 2000. Passed away in 2018.

Alan Colmes estate: spent 12 years as a co-host of a nightly Fox News show with Sean Hannity until departing in 2008. He passed away in February 2017 at the age of 66 after a brief bout with cancer.

Jeremey Darroch: an Englishman who joined BSkyB as CFO in 2004 after 12 years at Proctor & Gamble and was then appointed CEO in 2007, a position he held through the 2018 sale to Comcast and beyond, pocketing more than $50 million for his troubles.

Wendi Deng: Rupert's third wife haggled hard to cut her two daughters into an equal one-sixth economic slice of the inheritance which is likely to finish up at about $10 billion in total.

David DeVoe: became News Corp CFO during the debt crisis of 1991 and then finally retired in 2013 at the time of the 21st Century Fox demerger and received a glowing farewell from Rupert.

Chris DeWolfe: the Myspace co-founder and former CEO is estimated to have made $US40 million from the Myspace venture including an estimated $US10m slice from the $US580 million sale to News Corp and then a rich $US30 million contract to be the incompetent CEO after the purchase.

Viet Dinh: the Vietnamese migrant helped draft The Patriot Act for George Bush after 9-11 and has been operating within the empire since joining the News Corp board way back in April 2004 with effusive praise from Rupert for the then 36 year old. Within two years he was being appointed Godfather to Lachlan's son Aidan. Seemingly became de facto Fox Corp CEO after the 2018 Disney sale when he was head of legal but then took the hit for the $1.2 billion Dominion debacle and left the company with a $US23 million payout at the end of 2023 but will be paid a further $US2.5 million a year for the next two years. See Crikey story detailing his $US105 million pay packet for less than 6 years as an executive at Fox Corp.

Richard Freudenstein: a former lawyer who joined News Ltd's Sydney operation in 1994 and is about to notch up 30 years of service. The former Foxtel chief executive and long time REA director has clearly made a few bob after selling his Mosman home for $23 million in 2019. Made plenty of cash during 7 years at BSkyB in London and was reportedly disappointed at being overlooked for the CEO role in favour of James Murdoch.

Jerry Hall: The Guardian reported that Rupert's fourth wife was set to receive a package worth more than $50 million when the divorce was finalised in 2022.

Helen Handbury: the oldest of Keith Murdoch's four children died in 2004 after a battle with cancer. She received around $200 million from Rupert during the 1990s when he bought his siblings out of the family trust.

Sean Hannity: has been with Fox News since the very beginning in 1996 as has been paid more than $200 million as a program host during this period. Ridiculously close to and supportive of Donald Trump. This website reckons he's worth $US250 million and is paid $US45 million a year.

Rod Higgins: the co-founder and CEO of ASX-listed Mortgage Choice received $30 million for his 15.4 million shares when the Murdoch-controlled REA Group paid $1.95 a share or $244 million for the business in 2021. Not bad for a former boat builder.

Les Hinton: a Murdoch lifer who started with him in Adelaide in the 1950s and finished up as CEO of Dow Jones until taking the fall for the phone hacking scandal in 2013. See this Guardian interview after he released an interesting autobiography in 2018.

Laura Ingraham: has been quite a survivor as the host of The Ingraham Angle on Fox News since October 2017, for which she has no doubt been paid very well. This website reckons she is paid $US15 million a year.

Lon Jacobs: was Arthur Siskin's long term deputy general counsel in New York and worked for the Murdochs from 1996 until 2012, pocketing almost $50 million during this period. Left to be chief lawyer at Las Vegas Sands, the world's most valuable gambling company.

Anne Kantor and family: Rupert's sister received about $200 million of cash from Rupert during the 1990s when he bought his siblings out of the family trust. She gifted some of this to progressive causes, as can seen through this tribute by the Australia Institute when she passed in 2022.

Megyn Kelly:
has accumulated a net worth estimated at $US45 million and a good chunk of that came from her extended run at Fox News between 2004 and 2017, before she fell out with Donald Trump and left.

Leo Kirch: in July 1996 BSkyB announced plans to buy "up to 49 percent" of Leo Kirch's German digital group DF1 and a sports channel. The Kirch empire ultimately collapsed and BSkyB is estimated to have lost more than $1.5 billion in its first foray into Germany. See Kirch obituary.

Joel Klein: the New York education leader lasted a decade at News Corp before finally resigning in 2020 after being paid more than $20 million to build the company's ill-fated education division, Amplify.

John Kluge: in May 1985, News Corp commenced its push into building a fourth US television network paying billionaire John Kluge about $US2 billion for his 7 US stations. This helped almost send him broke in 1991 when News Corp's debts peaked at $13 billion. Kluge was a German migrant who at one point was called the Richest man in America.

Andrew Knight: Rupert poached the former boss of London's Daily Telegraph and The Economist to get close to Margaret Thatcher in 1990 and paid him handsomely for more than 20 years. Amusingly, he became chair of News Corp's remuneration committee who once defended the price of Rupert's labour at an AGM in New York.

Richard Li: the son of Li Ka-Shing launched the loss-making satellite television business Star TV and in July 1993, Goldman Sachs succeeded in brokering a deal between whereby News Corp purchased a 63.5 percent interest in the loss-making business for $US525 million. See full explanation by Goldman Sachs.

Hamish McLennan: the over-worked professional director and former advertising man sold one Sydney mansion in Lavender Bay, Alta Mura, for $17 million after trading up to a $30 million Darling Point mansion in 2023. Spent years working directly for Rupert in New York, has been the long-term chair of REA Group and was even Lachlan's hand-picked executive chair of Network Ten for a stretch.

Michael Miller: started in advertising and marketing and has worked for more than 25 years for the Murdochs, including being CEO of the Australian division since 2015. This has clearly paid well as he reportedly spent $18.6 million on a trophy home in Sydney's exclusive Bellevue Hill in 2019.

Piers Morgan: had reportedly amassed a pile exceeding $40 million before returning to Rupert's fold two years but is pocketing more than $10 million a year for his efforts.

John Nallen: has served as CFO of 21st Century Fox and Fox Corp since succeeding David DeVoe in 2013 at the time of the demerger and, with the departure of Viet Dinh, is now effectively Lachlan's deputy at Fox Corp. First joined News Corp in the US from its long time auditor Arthur Andersen in 1995, where he was a partner in the media and entertainment division. Has chalked up almost 30 years of service to the Murdochs, receiving total pay of more than $80 million over that period.

Bill O'Reilly: spent many years as a highly paid Fox News host after joining in 1996 but was then fired in 2017 with a big payout due to multiple sexual harassment allegations. He even reportedly personally paid $US32 million as part of a settlement with legal analyst Lis Wiehl.

Susan Panuccio: a Ballarat girl who first joined News Corp in London in 2002 and is now CFO of News Corp earning more than $10 million a year. It is all spelt out in this Linkedin profile and see page 50 of latest News Corp proxy statement for her pay specifics.

Dorothy Schiff: in November 1976, News Ltd bought The New York Post, the only surviving afternoon daily in New York City, with a circulation of about 500,000, for $US30 million after Rupert's usual tactic of telling proprietor Dorothy Schiff that he was thinking of launching a new paper. See Pophistory Dig summary.

Suzanne Scott: was recruited by Roger Ailes to join Fox News when it launched in 1996 and has been CEO of the network since 2018. This analysis suggests she may be be worth up to $US100 million.

Bill Shine: the loyal deputy to Roger Ailes at Fox News reportedly received an $US8.4 million severance payment when he left as boss of the network in 2018 to become Donald Trump's communications director. Joined Fox early and was senior producer of the night time program from 1999 and a loyal offsider to Ailes for nearly 20 years. Married a Fox News employee.

Arthur Siskind: a long time legal fixer for Rupert in New York who at one point represented him on the family trust and was general counsel from 1991 and a long time director. Joined the New York bar way back in 1962 and is now 85.

Robert Thomson: has been CEO of News Corp for almost a decade and received pre-tax salary and bonus payments of more than $60 million over that period.

Steve Tomsic: succeeded John Nallen as CFO at Fox Corp in 2019 and was paid a ridiculous $US16 million in the two years to June 30, 2020 (see p41 of proxy statement). As his corporate profile explains, he's a Melbourne boy who built his name at Boston Consulting Group and is now approaching 20 years of finance work within the broader Murdoch empire.

Anna Torv: Rupert's second wife was dumped for Wendi Deng in the late 1990s and haggled hard for a divorce that secured control and succession for Rupert's 4 adult children and delivered her an estimated payout worth more than $150 million.

Rob Wade: joined Fox in 2017 and since 2022 has been head of Fox Entertainment, reporting to chairman Lachlan Murdoch.

Lis Wiehl: the lawyer and author received a personal payment of $US32 million from Bill O'Reilly in 2017 after being sexually assaulted whilst working at Fox News.

Gerson Zweifach: the famously combative lawyer and general counsel was paid an average $US9 million a year to be Rupert's legal attack dog from 2012 until recently.