Murdoch & Son: James Anointed as Successor at the $60Bn Family Firm

By Sherwin, Adam | The Independent (London, England), March 31, 2011 | Go to article overview
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Murdoch & Son: James Anointed as Successor at the $60Bn Family Firm


Sherwin, Adam, The Independent (London, England)


Mogul's youngest son moves to New York for new executive role

JAMES MURDOCH has been handed a new senior role working closely with his father, Rupert, at News Corporation, the $60bn company whose interests extend from 20th Century Fox films to newspapers such as The Times and the Wall Street Journal, in the clearest sign yet that the media mogul's son is being lined up to take over his empire.

James, 38, the youngest of Rupert Murdoch's three children from his second marriage, will move from London to New York to take up the newly created role of "deputy chief operating officer and chairman and chief executive of international operations" at News Corp. He is currently based at the company's London offices, where he has overseen News Corp's controversial bid to take full control of BSkyB.

Rupert, 80, has been under increased pressure to name a successor. James's new position is similar to a role once held by his elder brother Lachlan, 39. But Lachlan walked out of News Corp in 2005, effectively ruling himself out of the ultimate succession.

Rupert Murdoch, who made a disastrous venture into the digital world with the purchase of MySpace, is believed to have felt the lack of a family figure at his side since Lachlan's departure.

The former Sunday Times editor Andrew Neil, who was also the founding chairman of Murdoch's Sky TV, said: "So James takes over Lachlan's old job, there's talk of Lachlan returning to the fold, and [daughter] Elisabeth is brought back with the purchase of [her production company] Shine. Rupert is doing what he loves best: watching his kids play for position."

In his new role, James Murdoch will oversee the company's media assets in the US and throughout the world, as well as retaining responsibility for operations in Europe and Asia.

James Murdoch has worked inside the family business for 15 years. After creating and then selling on a hip-hop record label to his father, he was placed in charge of new pay-television ventures in Germany and Italy.

After successfully reorganising the company's Star Asian satellite television business, he was parachuted into BSkyB as chief executive in 2003, a promotion that singled him out as News Corp's most likely future boss.

Under his leadership, BSkyB drove up subscriptions and extended the business into broadband and telephony.

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