Citizen Murdoch’s “Rosebud” moment as head of his global media empire might be at hand, as reports Monday said he could be replaced as CEO. The extraordinary phone-hacking scandal that rocked Britain seems poised to do the unthinkable: take him down.
Indeed, Rupert Murdoch was looking even more like fictional media baron Charles Foster Kane Monday, with a Bloomberg report saying COO Chase Carey could take the helm of the company that Murdoch had hoped to turn over one day to his now scandal-scarred son, James.
Bloomberg reported that a key factor News Corp.’s executives will weigh is Murdoch’s performance before Parliament Tuesday. Murdoch would stay on as News Corp.’s chairman, the report said.
The stunning development came on a day that News Corp. was put on credit watch by S&P. In another twist yesterday, Sean Hoare, a journalist whose whistle-blowing helped ignite the phone-hacking scandal, was found dead in his home outside London. Foul play was not suspected.
Meanwhile, 9/11 families in New York called on the FBI to investigate a report that the now-defunct News of the World tried to get a former NYPD cop to break into the voice mails of the victims.
Jim Riches, a retired firefighter who lost his son on 9/11, said, “We have to be suspicious.”
“I read the Post!” Riches added — but if News Corp. is found to be guilty of such hacking in the U.S., “in my personal opinion, he [Murdoch] should be stripped of his rights and maybe give up ownership” of the New York tabloid.
Back in England, Murdoch and his son, James, are slated to testify Tuesday before Parliament on the hacking scandal. They will be joined by Rebekah Brooks, the former News International boss who was arrested on Sunday, and about nine other former colleagues.
The scandal’s tentacles into Scotland Yard were further exposed Monday, with John Yates, the assistant police commissioner, stepping down the day after his boss was forced to resign amid allegations of accepting bribes and botching the hacking probe. Both have denied wrongdoing.
(with Sheila Anne Feeney)