Passing the Torch – James Murdoch Will Take Over from Dad Rupert as Fox CEO

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Passing the Torch - James Murdoch Will Take Over from Dad Rupert as Fox CEOIt would appear that 84-year-old Rupert Murdoch, one of the more recognizable and powerful movers and shakers in media, is passing the torch and keeping it in the family.  Reports from earlier this week suggest that he will be appointing his sons James and Lachlan as Chief Executive Officer and executive co-chairman respectively of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.

Currently, 42-year-old James Murdoch serves as Fox’s co-chief operating officer, while his older brother Lachlan, 43, is non-executive co-chairman.  What’s interesting, however, is how James, a onetime Harvard dropout and record label owner, is taking over with some “backing from important investors,” as noted on a feature report from NBC News.

The NBC report quotes Cowen and Company analyst Douglas Creutz as saying James had gotten the job as CEO due to his “recent operational experience” and backing from family supporter and Fox investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia.  The prince was quoted in a separate Reuters report, as he called James Murdoch a “giant” in the business world, and someone who can leverage digital technology as he takes over as Fox CEO.

Going forward, analysts expect James to be more aggressive when courting potential investors and having less emotional investment in assets, as opposed to his father Rupert.  “One might expect him to be a little bit more adventurous in terms of acquisitions, especially on the international and digital fronts where he seems to be quite engaged,” posited Tuna Amobi, S&P Capital IQ analyst.

It will also be interesting to see how James and Lachlan work together, as unnamed sources familiar with Rupert Murdoch’s plans said the two scions will work closely as a partnership.  And with Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey expected to leave his post, pundits are now closely watching, as the younger Murdoch men will be in charge of Fox without a strong outsider presence in the top brass.

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