Murdoch lines up Fox chief for top post

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RUPERT MURDOCH is lining up Peter Chernin, the chief executive of Fox Group, the American entertainment giant, as chief executive officer of parent company News Corp, the media tycoon said in an interview to be published later this month.

In an interview in the 12 July issue of Newsweek, Mr Murdoch said that his three children Lachlan, Elizabeth and James - whose ages range from 26 to 31 - would not be ready to take his place in the immediate future. The three are often depicted in the press as sibling rivals for corporate power.

"They all have to prove themselves," the 68-year-old media mogul told Newsweek. "It would certainly be a matter for the News Corp board. I would think Peter would probably be the CEO. Maybe my older son Lachlan would become chairman."

Mr Chernin is highly regarded for helping to focus and integrate the sprawling media and entertainment Fox Group, Newsweek said. He also helped to make its film and television business more profitable, not least by giving the green light to the film Titanic, the highest grossing picture ever made.

Lachlan Murdoch, 27, appeared to move closer to succeeding his father in February when he was appointed senior executive vice-president of News Corp and was made a member of the company's six-member office of the chairman.

Elizabeth Murdoch heads the BSkyB satellite television subsidiary in the UK while younger son James is deputy publisher of the New York Post.

Mr Murdoch broke off off a honeymoon with his third wife, 32-year-old Wendi Deng, to unveiled a new Internet venture with Japan's Softbank Corp - one of the world's biggest Internet investors. Mr Murdoch conceded that his conversion to a new technology - whose rapid change might otherwise undermine his media group - might have come a little late: "But only by a year or two," he said.