Lachlan Murdoch (search), a son of Rupert Murdoch (search) and a possible heir to his father's leadership of News Corp. (NWS), resigned his executive position with the company Friday and said he'd move to Australia with his family.

Lachlan Murdoch, 33, deputy chief operating officer since October 2000, will leave that position Aug. 31 but remain as a director and advise the company. Lachlan Murdoch also ran the company's newspaper interests, including the New York Post, where he served as publisher.

"I look forward to returning home to Australia with my wife, Sarah, and son, Kalan, in the very near future. I would like especially to thank my father for all he has taught me in business and in life," Murdoch said in a statement. "It is now time for me to apply those lessons to the next phase of my career."

In the statement, CEO Rupert Murdoch, 74, said he was "particularly saddened by my son's decision and thank him for his terrific contribution to the company."

New York-based News Corp. is the parent of numerous media enterprises, including Fox News Channel, FX Networks, HarperCollins Publishers, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., DirecTV and British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC.

Lachlan Murdoch joined the company in 1994, beginning his management career in charge of the company's Australian newspapers.

His younger brother, James Murdoch (search), is also a News Corp. executive. He oversees BSkyB, the company's satellite unit in Britain.

The Murdoch family owns nearly 30 percent of News Corp. Rupert Murdoch has been grooming his sons to take over his controlling interest in the company, but has offered no indication when he will step down.