Murdoch Sets Up $25m Bonus; Lamming Lachlan Eyes $7m

05 August 2005

"There are few ways in which a man can be more innocently employed than in getting money," opined the immortal Dr Samuel Johnson.

"And so say all of us," choruses the Clan Murdoch.

It emerged Wednesday that patriarch Rupert, chairman of the News Corporation family business, has set himself up with a neat little profits-linked bonus plan that could net up to $25 million (€20m; £14m) annually on top of his $4.5m salary and other emoluments.

Even lamming Lachlan (33), the Oz-bound elder Murdoch offspring, stands to gain from the bonus scheme which, despite his abscondment [WAMN: 01-Aug-05], could still put up to $7m in his pocket for the year ended June 30.

The news of the clan's bonus bonanza came to light in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. It brings the chairman's bonus package into line with that of his loyal lieutenant, NewsCorp president Peter Chernin. Under a an agreement sealed in 2004, Chernin can earn as up to $25 million in annual profit-related bonuses.

No mention is made bonus-wise of James, younger son of the House of Murdoch who worked his way up from the top to run BSkyB, the NewsCorp-controlled UK satellite monopoly.

James (32), however, hit the headline for different reasons. First for his stewardship of BSkyB which yesterday reported subscriber levels nearing the target eight million mark; and fourth-quarter net income almost doubled to £152m on higher revenue and profit margins.

Secondly, James assured an eager press pack of his loyalty to the family business. He had no intention of following Lachlan to pastures new, he told the assembled journalists.

"I fully intend to be here for the long term," he said. "It is a strategy that's going to take a lot of work. I'm here. You're stuck with me.".

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff