Rupert Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch handing leading roles to sons James and LachlanGetty

Rupert Murdoch is to step down as chief executive of 21st Century Fox and hand over the reigns to his son James, sources close to the family have claimed.

The 84-year-old tycoon is said to be giving the CEO title to his son James, 42, while his son Lachlan will become an executive co-chairman to help with the day-to-day running of the company, CNBC reported.

The TV station reported that the information about the pending "partnership" between the brothers had been shared within the company.

A Fox spokesperson said that Murdoch's son's succession was on the board of directors' agenda at its next meeting and declined to comment further.

Previously Murdoch let slip that his eldest son Lachlan, 43, would succeed him as head of News Corp in 2013 amid the News Of The World hacking scandal that led to the closure of the 168-year-old publication.

At a 45-minute meeting at the Wapping headquarters he asked journalists to trust him, adding that in the event he was "no longer around", his son Lachlan, or ­chief executive Robert Thomson would look after them.

Lachlan resigned from his post at News Corporation in July 2005, but continues to sit on the board.