Rupert Murdoch told his shareholders last night that he would not bow to demands for his retirement, and insisted that the hacking scandal at the News of the World was having no financial impact on the rest of his media empire.
None the less, he did highlight the role of his deputy, Chase Carey, in a nod to Wall Street's concerns that he may be too old or too out of touch to carry on as both chairman and chief executive of News Corporation. "Make no mistake, Chase Carey and I run this company as a team," Mr Murdoch said, on a conference call to discuss News Corp's latest figures.
Mr Murdoch's empire includes satellite broadcasting in Asia and Europe, US television networks, the publisher Harper Collins and the movie studio Twentieth Century Fox. Even with the closure of the News of the World, the company still expects more than 13 per cent profit growth over the next year. In the 12 months to the end of June, News Corp profits jumped to $2.74bn from $2.54bn last time.
The growing influence of Mr Carey was evident last night in the company's promise to direct profits to buying back shares rather than making multi-billion dollar acquisitions. That was welcomed by shareholders who have seen only mixed results from recent empire-building acquisitions by Mr Murdoch, such as the takeover of The Wall Street Journal in the US and the MySpace social network.
News Corp's independent board directors, under George W Bush's former assistant attorney general Viet Dinh, are running the internal investigation into the hacking scandal.
"I've run this company for more than 50 years and the kind of behaviour that occurred has no place in that newsroom," Mr Murdoch told shareholders.
"We are all committed to doing the right thing. We have taken decisive actions to hold people accountable and will continue to do whatever is necessary to prevent something like this from ever occurring again."Reuse content