Rupert Murdoch appoints son as News Corp chief in Europe, Asia
( AFP ) - James Murdoch was named boss of News Corporation in Europe and Asia on Friday in a move seen as putting him in line to succeed father and media mogul Rupert Murdoch as head of the sprawling empire.
News Corpalso revealed that Les Hinton, executive chairman of British newpaper division News International, would become Dow Jones & Company chief executive when Dow's purchase by News Corp is completed next week.
The promotion of James Murdoch, the youngest of four children, marks a remarkable rise through the boardroom ranks for the only family heir inside News Corp, the US conglomerate chaired by his Australian-born father.
The younger Murdoch, who assumes his London-based post with immediate effect, is in charge of assets including News International UK, Sky Italia, the Asian-based Star TV and News Corporation Europe, the group said in a statement.
As chairman and chief executive of Europe and Asia, Murdoch will also oversee the Wall Street Journal Europe, the British newspapers The Times and The Sun as well as Australian publications controlled by News Corp.
The 34-year-old leaves his post as chief executive of British satellite television broadcaster BSkyB, in which News Corp is the leading shareholder, but will assume his father's role as BSkyB non-executive chairman. He has been boss at BSkyB since 2003.
The major boardroom shake-up comes just months after Murdoch senior clinched a hard-fought acquisition of Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones & Company for 5.6 billion dollars.
Hinton will replace Richard F. Zannino, who announced his departure from Dow Jones on Thursday.
"I have every confidence that his energy, dedication and foresight will enable Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal to reach their full potential as the leading financial information source globally," said boss Rupert Murdoch of Hinton's appointment.
James Murdoch, meanwhile, will rejoin the board of directors at News Corp, on which he had served from 2000 to 2003.
"I am excited to be rejoining News Corporation in this new role leading News Corporation's businesses across Europe and Asia, and I am delighted to continue working with the exceptional team at Sky in my new role as non-executive chairman and as a director," James Murdoch said.
Rupert Murdoch also gave a glowing report of James' time at BSkyB, during which he boosted pay-TV subscriber numbers and launched the group into Britain's fiercely-competitive markets for broadband Internet and telephone services.
"James is a talented and proven executive with a rare blend of international perspective and deep, hands-on experience in improving operational results.
"He has transformed Sky, which is now not only Europe's most valuable television company, but also the fastest growing challenger in the much larger UK marketplace for entertainment, broadband and telephony."
News Corp added that the appointment would streamline the group's management of its operating units, which include News International UK, Sky Italia, STAR Group and News Corporation Europe.
James Murdoch is replaced at BSkyB by the group's financial director, Jeremy Darroch.
News Corporation is the umbrella company for an empire chaired by Murdoch that also includes the Fox News Channel, the New York Post newspaper, the Fox Hollywood film studios and television network and the rapidly growing Internet social networking site MySpace.
Other holdings include The Australian newspaper and the US-based book publishing giant HarperCollins.