James Murdoch, younger son of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, will soon return as chairman of Sky, after a gap of four years. He quit Sky in 2012 following a phone-hacking scandal involving journalists in one of his news papers. James, now 43, was chairman of the-then BSkyB in 2012. Currently, he is the chief executive of Fox in New York.
James Murdoch will formally take charge of Sky in April. He will replace Nick Ferguson, its current chairman. James is hailed for his big contribution in making Sky a powerful media house, reports AAP.
When James quit Sky in 2012, it was on the verge of being taken over by 21st Century Fox, the company owned by his father, Rupert Murdoch. But the hacking scandal hit the deal and he had to leave Sky.
According to BBC, Murdoch’s new role will be crucial in his expected oversight of Fox (an American business) and Sky (European) in terms of the value from the content being created. Further, his stewardship will be watched in the functional integration of Fox, Sky and News Corp, which is Rupert Murdoch’s publishing business.
The phone hacking scandal had put James in hard times. James was blamed for the scandal as he was also the chairman of News International, whose journalists allegedly hacked into phones of celebrities including that of a murdered school girl. Subsequently, the news of the world paper was shut down. After James left, Sky acquired Fox’s German and Italian businesses and made Murdoch’s European pay-TV assets into a single company. Now the US group holds 39 percent stake in Sky.
Sky’s Chief Executive, Jeremy Darroch said James Murdoch was the only candidate for the post. He was “without a doubt the right man for the job.” Responding to the speculations on Fox’s intentions, he said Sky’s management is not disturbed. “I can’t speak for Fox but what I would read into James’ acceptance of the role is that he and they continue to be passionate supporters for Sky’s ongoing success,” Darroch told reporters.
However, Royal London Asset Management (RLAM), an investor said the appointment of James was not a good sign. According to its spokesperson, investors need a strong independent chairman to protect their interests when Fox makes a fresh bid for the takeover of Sky.