Murdoch Minor Has 'Guts and Talent' for BSkyB, Says NewsCorp

14 October 2003

Peter Chernin, News Corporation president and chief operating officer, is irked that British shareholders dare question the nomination of James Murdoch for the ceo's role at UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB.

Several of the UK's largest institutional investors have publicly voiced their concern over the corporate governance implications in appointing the youngest son of NewsCorp's chairman as chief executive at the satellite broadcaster. BSkyB's chairman also happens to be ... Rupert Murdoch.

Chernin denies this is at odds with accepted best practice. "People want to believe that we're a bunch of crazy people running around ignoring the rules. But the reality is we're a big public company, with a big board and full recognition of the corporate governance world in which we live."

Another reality is that few people succeed in thwarting chairman Murdoch when his mind is made up. "We will nominate James," insists Chernin, "because we think he has the combination of guts and talent and we think he's the best person for this job."

Meantime, it has been revealed that the candidates for the job – including Murdoch minor – are to undergo psychometric testing. As part of the interview process conducted by New York headhunters Spencer Stuart, "all the candidates will sit a psychometric test, including James," said an executive associated with the BSkyB exercise.

Other candidates include three BSkyB executives: finance director Martin Stewart, chief operating officer Richard Freudenstein and Jon Florsheim, sales and marketing director.

The tests, which purport to measure the personality, intelligence and aptitude of candidates for senior positions, are based on the theories of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, since whose demise in 1961 the arcane art of psychology has advanced somewhat.

Among his many utterances, Jung offered this sage advice to fathers: "If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves."

Data sourced from multiple origins; additional content by WARC staff