RUPERT MURDOCH HAS given his first major indication that his son James is not likely to succeed him as the chief executive of News Corporation when he retires.
Murdoch told investors on a conference call yesterday that his position as CEO and Chairman of News Corp would likely fall to his COO and deputy chairman, Chase Carey, when the 80-year-old finally steps down.
“Chase is my partner and if anything happened to me I’m sure he’ll get it immediately – if I went under a bus,” Reuters quotes Murdoch as saying.
“But Chase and I have full confidence in James [Murdoch],” he added, continuing that he was not likely to step down as CEO any time soon.
“The board and I believe I should continue in my current role as chairman and CEO, but make no mistake, Chase Carey and I run this company as a team, and the strength of that partnership is reflected in our improved results,” Murdoch said.
The conference call with investors followed financial results which showed that News Corp turned a profit of $982m for 2010, up from $902m in the previous year.
While operating rose by 11 per cent – to just under $5bn – its net income fell by 22 per cent, from $875m to $683m.
The reputation of News Corp – and of both Murdochs – has been battered by the News of the World’s phone-hacking scandal, which Murdoch said had “no place at News Corporation.”
“It does not reflect the actions and beliefs of our more than 50,000 professional employees,” the Guardian quoted Murdoch senior as saying. “I am personally determined to put things right when it comes to the News of the World.”
James Murdoch is now the second of Rupert’s sons to be told he is unlikely to take their father’s job; the eldest son Lachlan resigned from all of his positions at News Corp six years ago after being accused of mismanaging Murdoch’s Australian telecoms company One.Tel.