Stunning news and maybe not unexpected either -- James Murdoch has been forced out at News International -- the News Corp. unit that oversees the troubled newspaper empire in the United Kingdom. The announcement just came down, and has repercussions all the way down the line, and maybe right even to you, the viewer of Fox's many, many shows. For a good overview of what this means, check out this Michael Wolff column.
James was indeed the heir apparent -- a young, smart, hotshot with the most powerful resume in the media world, or I suppose the most powerful name. He was indeed expected to replace Rupert -- certainly one of the great visionaries in media history who now seems embraced in a humiliating struggle over the reprehensible practices of some of his newspaper employees. James, as executive chairman, was struggling with the hacking scandal as well, and now has apparently succumbed.
The company statement says he'll now focus on international business ventures.
Here are the statements:
“We are all grateful for James' leadership at News International and across Europe and Asia, where he has made lasting contributions to the group's strategy in paid digital content and its efforts to improve and enhance governance programs,” said Rupert Murdoch, chairman and chief executive officer, News Corporation. “He has demonstrated leadership and continues to create great value at Star TV, Sky Deutschland, Sky Italia, and BSkyB. Now that he has moved to New York, James will continue to assume a variety of essential corporate leadership mandates, with particular focus on important pay-TV businesses and broader international operations.”
“I deeply appreciate the dedication of my many talented colleagues at News International who work tirelessly to inform the public and am confident about the tremendous momentum we have achieved under the leadership of my father and Tom Mockridge,” said James Murdoch. "With the successful launch of The Sun on Sunday and new business practices in place across all titles, News International is now in a strong position to build on its successes in the future. As deputy chief operating officer, I look forward to expanding my commitment to News Corporation’s international television businesses and other key initiatives across the company."