Next-gen James Murdoch will reportedly be given more responsibilities in News Corporation’s US television division, following a dressing down by a UK watchdog over the phone-hacking scandal.
Last week, Ofcom, the British broadcasting authority, appeared to have cleared BSkyB, the pay-TV company that family-controlled News Corp holds a large stake in, of any connection to the scandal.
However, it was critical of James, who was chairman of Sky until he stepped down in April. He remains a non-executive director.
"In our view, James Murdoch's conduct in relation to events at News Group Newspapers repeatedly fell short of the exercise of responsibility to be expected of him as CEO and chairman," the report from Ofcom said.
News Corp responded by saying in a statement: “James deserves credit for his role as chief executive, then chairman and now non-executive director, in leading Sky to an outstanding record as a broadcaster, including its excellent compliance record.”
It is thought it will be difficult for James to work with BSkyB again. ''This is a very clear distancing of BSkyB and its corporate governance from James Murdoch,'' Claire Enders, chief executive officer of Enders Analysis, told Bloomberg. “I don't think the issues of the alleged behaviour, criminal or otherwise, are going to be going away.''
But the young Murdoch, who is deputy chief operating officer of the media conglomerate, is being considered for a top role in the company’s US television operations, according to media reports.
The 39-year-old could soon head up the Fox broadcast network and cable channels including FX, although a decision has yet to be made.
''It's a way to get him back in the game without any regulatory issues,'' Brett Harriss, an analyst at Gabelli & Co, told Bloomberg. ''He's the heir apparent, he's not going to be relegated to the sidelines.''
James’s father Rupert is chief executive and chairman of News Corp.