Murdoch Minor's Métier: Inhouse Executives Get Sky Shy

02 October 2003

Straight from the mouth of one News Corporation horse comes hot news of another.

According to The Times of London, no BSkyB executives have applied for the vacant chief executive’s job – thought by career-sensitive managers to have a 'reserved' sign hanging over the empty chair. Internal applications for the position, for which the clear favourite is the chairman's son, James, close Friday.

Meantime, a shortlist of potential candidates prepared by US headhunter Spencer Stuart will be reviewed next week by the board’s four-strong nominations committee, headed by BSkyB independent director Lord Norman St John Stevas of Fawsley.

Of whom a less reverential and more enquiring newspaper (The Guardian) has uncovered an interesting fact.

Stevas is also chairman of the Fine Art Commission Trust, allegedly funded to the tune of "tens of thousands of pounds" annually by NewsCorp's UK subsidiary News International. The trust's 'Building of the Year' award was presented in June at the Savoy hotel, jointly hosted by Stevas and the managing director of Sky Networks, Dawn Airey.

The noble Lord refutes that there is conflict of interest in his chairing a trust receiving money from a company of which he is a director. "It [the award] is sponsored by the trust, Sky has contributed in the past and before it News International and the Sunday Times," he said. "They make a contribution but the main money comes from the Royal Fine Art Commission Trust."

Small world.

Data sourced from: Times Online (UK) and; additional content by WARC staff