He would take over the reins from Tesla founder Elon Musk, who agreed to step down as Tesla chairman for three years as part of a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC claims that Musk broke securities laws in August when he tweeted "funding secure" in reference to taking the company private.
Here's the life and career of Murdoch, who rose from a hip-hop label founder to the leader of one of the world's most dominant media corporations:
Born in 1972, Murdoch is the fourth of his media mogul father Rupert's sons, and "regarded as the smartest of the Murdoch brood."
As CEO, Murdoch earned $20.3 million in 2017 and $26.4 million in 2016.
Murdoch was born in London but grew up in New York. He graduated from the tony Horace Mann High School and then attended Harvard. Murdoch there edited underground magazines and wrote for the satirical Harvard Lampoon.
Murdoch dropped out of Harvard to establish a hip-hop record label called Rawkus in 1995. It was bought by his father's News Corporation three years later.
Murdoch, once back at the family company, took charge of a few different ventures at News Corp. — including its early internet operations and Asian television service.
Murdoch's responsibilities at News Corp. broadened when he was appointed CEO of Sky UK (then called BSkyB) in 2003 — one of the UK's largest broadcasters. He was 30.
Murdoch initially faced claims of nepotism for his appointment. However, he managed to expand Sky's successes and, unlike his father, mostly stayed away from political meddling.
In 2007, Murdoch was put in charge of New Corp.'s European and Asian operations. That made him in charge of some of the region's most influential media sources, like The Times (UK) and The Sun (UK).
He accrued a reputation of being a hard-working, introverted leader. He had an early morning gym routine and a black belt in karate.
However, Murdoch faced serious controversy soon into his tenure. Reporters and editors at The News of the World, one of News Corp.'s biggest UK media holdings, allegedly hacked thousands of phones to find new stories over the course of nearly a decade. James and Rupert Murdoch both faced intense scrutiny and criticism in the aftermath.
The massive scandal led to Murdoch's resignation as head of the British newspaper arm of News Corp. in 2012. He remained deputy chief operating officer for News Corp.
News Corp. split in 2013 into two companies: 21st Century Fox, in charge of broadcast operations, and a "new" News Corp., to consist of publishing assets like HarperCollins. Following the split, Murdoch became CEO of 21st Century Fox.
Since 2017, Murdoch has also served on the board of Tesla. Those familiar with the executive said he signaled interest in the chairman job, according to the Financial Times.
He spoke glowingly about his experience with Tesla's board. "It's been a really fascinating experience," Murdoch said in an interview at a recent Goldman Sachs conference. "What's exciting about the company and about Elon is the goals are so audacious. He's an entrepreneur who has some really audacious goals about what can be created and what can be settled for."