Ian Burrell: This is like removing a hostage from a danger zone

Share
Related Topics

Less than a month after his father Rupert's 80th birthday, James Murdoch is returning to New York in a newly created, powerful role. The appointment appears to confirm that the fourth of the media mogul's six children is the chosen successor as head of the News Corporation empire.

At the age of 38, James has been given the title of deputy chief executive officer, chairman and CEO, International, of News Corp, which effectively means that he will be the third most important figure in the organisation.

James's promotion reflects Murdoch Snr's desire that News Corp remain a family operation.

As one source said last night: "Rupert can do what he likes."

Yesterday News Corp sources in London were anxious to give the impression that little had changed, with James retaining control of News Corp in Europe and Asia, meaning that he is still in charge of News International, publisher of the company's British newspapers.

He will also retain his position as non-executive chairman of the satellite broadcaster BSkyB.

But all this means that James Murdoch will be relocating to America at a time when News International is beset by problems concerning the ongoing scandal of phone-hacking by journalists at its Sunday tabloid, the News of the World.

News Corp's purchase of BSkyB is also at a critical juncture, with the board on the verge of deciding what price to pay for the 61 per cent of shares which News Corp does not already own.

Some observers have not been impressed with James's handling of the British newspaper business, which he took over in 2007.

On Tuesday, on the eve of the announcement of the new role, News International released new figures which it claimed showed that the company's introduction of a paywall for the websites of The Times and The Sunday Times had been successful in increasing digital revenues. But print sales of The Times have suffered a steady decline.

Rumours have been circulating for some time that James, who went to school in New York and is married to a New Yorker, wished to return to America.

The move will take him out of the line of fire as MPs continue to demand answers on the extent of the phone-hacking activities at News International.

One source last night compared James's relocation to "an SAS operation to remove a hostage from a vulnerable situation".

Some believe that Rebekah Brooks, who is now the most senior News Corp figure based in London and admired greatly by Rupert Murdoch, may also be considered for an American-based role, though that would compound a power vacuum that may already emerge at Wapping with James's frequent absence.

Loyal News Corp figures say the new job is simply an extension of James's role and that over the past 18 months he has spent much time away from London visiting News Corp operations across Europe and Asia.

"You shouldn't think of this as him fleeing London, never to be seen again," one insisted.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Buyer / Planner

£20000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity has ar...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Manager

£40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity working ...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Journals Manager

£33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The prime focus of the role is to assist...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Bristol

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

The era of graduates from the university conveyor belt is over

Hamish McRae
The UCAS clearing house call centre in Cheltenham, England  

Ucas should share its data on students from poor backgrounds so we can get a clearer picture of social mobility

Conor Ryan
Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks