Murdoch Junior Yet to Apply for BSkyB Job

07 October 2003

Rupert Murdoch's desire to install his son James as ceo of British satellite firm BSkyB has hit a fresh hurdle: the scion in question has not yet applied for the job.

BSkyB is 35%-owned by News Corporation, and the older Murdoch is keen for his son to take over from outgoing ceo Tony Ball.

But a report in The Times – which, as it too is owned by NewsCorp, should be in the know – claims Murdoch junior is yet to hand in an official application.

This fact was confirmed by Lord Norman St John Stevas of Fawsley, chairman of the satellite company's nomination committee, who revealed that only internal candidates have so far declared an interest.

The younger Murdoch's hesitation may be tactical, as he assesses the degree of opposition his appointment would provoke in the City, where many feel the 30-year-old needs more experience.

The BSkyB insiders contending for the top job are said to be chief operating officer Richard Freudenstein, group finance director Martin Stewart and sales and marketing director Jon Florsheim.

In their favour are rules that may prevent Murdoch senior and the other NewsCorp-based directors voting on the succession, leaving the decision in the hands of eight non-executive board members.

The Telegraph claims BSkyB's statutes declare that a director may not vote "on any resolution concerning a material matter in which he has, directly or indirectly, a material interest."

As James Murdoch is an employee of NewsCorp, this clause may rule out directors from the parent company. However, there is a get-out clause – Stevas insists it is up to the board to decide what qualifies as a "material" interest.

Data sourced from: multiple sources; additional content by WARC staff