Media Blog

News Corp’s Line of Succession in Doubt

It seems this summer’s voice-mail-hacking scandal at News of the World was only the latest strain on the line of succession at News Corp. James Murdoch, the long-anointed successor to his father, Rupert Murdoch, is in danger of losing his promised place at the top of the company.

Rupert Murdoch, now 80, has long said he hopes one of his children will eventually run the company he built from an Australian newspaper franchise into one of the world’s most powerful and profitable media empires. With his daughter Elisabeth focused on her television production company in London, and Lachlan determined to continue running his media business in Sydney despite the elder Murdoch’s desire to bring him back into the company, James has been the heir apparent. But the hacking scandal and the simmering animosity with his father have destabilized his once inexorable ascent within the company.

Rupert Murdoch’s media empire was built out of his own father’s humble newspaper franchise in Adelaide, Australia. However, it appears he acknowledges that the success of his company should not be influenced by nepotism:

“Rupert always thought of News Corp. as a family company because it had been given to him,” said Barry Diller, who helped the elder Mr. Murdoch build Fox into a formidable rival to the traditional networks. “It had been given to him through a tiny newspaper in Adelaide, but nevertheless it was his father’s company. I think that meant to him that tradition should continue. If, as he’s always said, his children were worthwhile.”

News Corp is too important in the battle for providing alternatives in the global media to be placed in unsure hands. Hopefully, James Murdoch or one of his siblings will prove adept at the task. If not, Rupert may have to make some difficult choices. The rest of the story on the internecine fight at News Corp here.