07.18.11

News Corp.: Murdoch Not Out as CEO

The media conglomerate is pushing back against reports Rupert Murdoch is about to give up the CEO’s job to defuse the crisis. But Howard Kurtz says such a move could happen eventually.

Rupert Murdoch’s company is knocking down reports that he is considering stepping down as News Corp.’s chief executive and handing the reins to his president, Chase Carey.

An executive who is part of the senior leadership team told The Daily Beast on Monday night that the move is not under active consideration and the reports are “inaccurate.”

“I don’t see it on the horizon,” said the executive, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Instead, this person said, Murdoch and his son James are totally focused on the testimony they will deliver before a British parliamentary committee on Tuesday.

Bloomberg reported that “a decision hasn’t been made and a move depends in part on Murdoch’s performance before Parliament.” Murdoch would remain as chairman under the scenario reported by Bloomberg.

The executive could not rule out that the 80-year-old Murdoch might eventually turn over the CEO’s job to Carey.

The executive could not rule out that the 80-year-old Murdoch might eventually turn over the CEO’s job to Carey, who is well regarded within the company. He said such a succession plan has bounced around in the past, most recently when James Murdoch, the media mogul’s son and News Corp.’s deputy chief operating officer, considered leaving London for the United States. But it is wrong to say that plan has been accelerated in any way, the executive cautioned.

The leak could reflect a split on the News Corp. board about whether Rupert Murdoch stepping down would help defuse the crisis. But given the family’s control of the voting stock, it is unlikely such a plan could be implemented without Murdoch’s acquiescence.