The matriarch of media clan Murdoch has spoken publicly about grandson Lachlan's shock decision to quit the family firm.

Dame Elizabeth, 96-year-old mother of News Corporation chairman Rupert, says the heir apparent was "not 100% happy" in his role as deputy chief operating officer.

In an interview with Australian news magazine Bulletin, Dame Elizabeth is also candid about the succession at NewsCorp.

She opines that her son will find it hard to hand over the reins to anyone, but in the event of Rupert (74) falling out of the saddle or his (less likely) retirement, "someone outside the family" might run the business.

This contrasts with current media speculation that second son James, head of UK satellite TV operator BSkyB, will now be groomed to take over from dad.

But Dame Elizabeth is hopeful Lachlan could return to the fold: "He is still involved in the company and maybe one day he may come back in a leading position."

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff