News Corp., the Murdoch family business

By Laurie Bennett

March 31, 2011 at 6:57am

Nepotism charges are nothing new at News Corp.

Rupert Murdoch has a history of filling important positions with family members.

But the news that his son James has been named deputy COO, putting him one rung closer to succeeding his 80-year-old father, has raised new complaints.

Rupert Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch

In addition to his new title, James Murdoch serves as chairman and CEO of the company’s international operations.

As the Lex column of the Financial Times puts it: “One of life’s saddest spectacles is watching the offspring of the rich and famous trying to legitimise their success.”

“Sad” isn’t quite the word that occurs to some stockholders of the publicly traded firm. The Amalgamated Bank of New York and the Central Labourers Pension Fund recently filed suit against the company for buying the TV production company owned by Murdoch’s daughter Elisabeth.

Murdoch’s older son, Lachlan, resigned his executive jobs with News Corp. in 2005, but still has a board seat.

With his father and brother also holding board positions, the family has three of the 15 seats at the directors’ table.

Rupert Murdoch got his start through family connections. His father, Keith Murdoch, was a journalist who bought several newspapers in Australia. On Keith Murdoch’s death in 1952, his son inherited the Adelaide News and the Adelaide Sunday Mail.

Rupert Murdoch expanded the small Australian operation to a global conglomerate that encompasses Fox Broadcasting, Dow Jones, The Times (UK) and the Wall Street Journal.

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