James Murdoch

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James Murdoch
James Murdoch 2008- NRKbeta.jpg
Murdoch in 2008
James Rupert Jacob Murdoch

(1972-12-13) 13 December 1972 (age 50)
Wimbledon, London, England
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
EducationHarvard University
Board member ofTesla, Inc.
Kathryn Hufschmid
(m. 2000)

James Rupert Jacob Murdoch (born 13 December 1972) is a British-American businessman,[1] the younger son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, and was the chief executive officer (CEO) of 21st Century Fox from 2015 to 2019.[2]

He was the chairman and CEO for Europe and Asia of News Corporation until 2013 when it was split into News Corp and 21st Century Fox. He was formerly a director of News Corp and was a member of the office of the chairman.[3][4]

Until April 2012,[5] he was the chairman and CEO of Sky plc, Europe and Asia, where he oversaw assets such as News International (British newspapers; publisher of The News of the World newspaper), Sky Italia (satellite television in Italy), Sky Deutschland, and STAR TV (satellite television in Asia).

He was executive chairman of News International from 2007[6] until February 2012.[7] He previously held a non-executive chair at British Sky Broadcasting, in which News Corporation had a controlling minority stake. In April 2012, he was forced to resign as chairman of BSkyB in the wake of the ongoing phone hacking scandal, in which he was implicated.[8] He was reappointed chairman of the company following its merger with its Italian and German sister companies to form Sky plc.

He was formerly an executive vice-president of News Corporation (the controlling shareholder of BSkyB) and served on the board of directors of News Datacom and of News Corporation.[9]

In May 2012, a highly critical UK Parliamentary report said that Murdoch "showed wilful ignorance of the extent of phone-hacking" and found him "guilty of an astonishing lack of curiosity" over the issue.[10] It went on to say that both Murdoch and his father, Rupert, "should ultimately be prepared to take responsibility" for wrongdoing at the News of the World and News International.[11]

Murdoch is a British citizen by birth and a naturalised US citizen. He lost Australian citizenship when his father became a US citizen, but he is eligible to reclaim it.

Early life[edit]

Murdoch was born at Wimbledon Hospital in Wimbledon, London, England. [12]He is the fourth child of billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch's six children, and the third with Scottish-born journalist and author Anna Murdoch Mann (née Torv).[13]

As a youngster James was regarded as the brightest of the Murdoch children, but also considered something of a rebel.[9] He first came to public notice as a 15-year-old intern at the Sydney Daily Mirror but made headlines in the rival The Sydney Morning Herald after he was photographed asleep on a sofa at a press conference.[9]

Murdoch attended Horace Mann School in New York City[9] and graduated in 1991. He then studied film and history at Harvard University, where he was a member of the Harvard Lampoon. He dropped out of university in 1995 without completing his studies.[9] With university friends Brian Brater and Jarret Myer, he backed the establishment of Rawkus Records, an independent hip hop record label. The company was bought by News Corporation in 1998.[9]

Business career[edit]

In 1996, Murdoch joined News Corporation and was appointed chairman of Festival Records. He took charge of News Corporation's internet operations, where he invested in a series of ventures, including financial website TheStreet and the short-lived online music site Whammo, with mixed results.[9] He also continued to contribute cartoons to US magazine Gear.

He is credited with sparking his father's interest in the internet, and he reportedly tried to persuade his father to buy internet company PointCast for US$450 million. It was subsequently sold to another company for $7 million.[9]

After installing a new management team at Festival, Murdoch purchased the controlling 51% share of Mushroom Records in 1999, and the merged group was rebranded as Festival Mushroom Records (FMR).[14] It was at first thought that News Corporation might use FMR as the foundation of a new international entertainment company, but FMR struggled while Murdoch was in charge and after his departure its fortunes declined rapidly. FMR was closed in late 2005 and its remaining assets were sold: the recording catalogue was sold to the Australian division of Warner Music for A$10 million in October 2005, and the publishing division was sold to Michael Gudinski a month later, for an undisclosed sum.[15]

In May 2000, Murdoch was appointed chairman and chief executive of News Corporation's ailing Asian satellite service Star Television, which at the time was losing £100 million a year, and he moved to Hong Kong.[9]

In February 2003, Murdoch became a director of BSkyB. Later that year, he controversially became CEO of BSkyB, in which News Corporation owns a controlling minority stake. His appointment sparked accusations of nepotism, with some commentators and shareholders feeling that the job had not been opened to outsiders and that Murdoch was too young and inexperienced to run one of the UK's top companies[16] (upon appointment he was by far the youngest chief executive of a FTSE 100 company).

Following the surprise resignation of his brother Lachlan Murdoch from his executive positions at News Corporation in July 2005, James was viewed as his father's heir-apparent.[17]

Murdoch at a digital media conference in 2006

In December 2007, Murdoch stepped down as CEO from BSkyB and was appointed non-executive chairman of the company (a position formerly held by his father, Rupert).[18]

In a related announcement, Murdoch also took "direct responsibility for the strategic and operational development of News Corporation's television, newspaper, and related digital assets in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East."[19] This included holdings such as News International, Sky Italia, STAR Group ltd and possibly other News Corporation related assets. He was based at News International's headquarters in Wapping, East London.

In February 2009, Murdoch was appointed a non-executive director with the British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline.[20]

In August 2009, Murdoch delivered the MacTaggart Memorial Lecture at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, in which he attacked the BBC and UK media regulator Ofcom calling the BBC's expansion "chilling" and also said: "In this all-media marketplace, the expansion of state-sponsored journalism is a threat to the plurality and independence of news provision, which are so important for our democracy."[17][21] The BBC chairman, Sir Michael Lyons officially responded, "We have to be careful not to reduce the whole of broadcasting to some simple economic transactions. The BBC's public purposes stress the importance of the well-tested principles of educating and informing, and an impartial contribution to debate in the UK."[22]

In April 2010, Murdoch and his associate Rebekah Brooks entered the offices of The Independent to complain about an advertisement campaign by the newspaper.[23] The advertisement read, "Rupert Murdoch won't decide this election—you will."

In April 2014, it was announced that Murdoch would join the board of advertising start-up True[X] Media.[24]

In June 2015, his father, Rupert, announced that he would be leaving his position as CEO of 21st Century Fox and James would take over the position.[25]

In January 2016, Murdoch became the chairman of Sky, Britain's subscription broadcaster.[26]

In July 2017, Murdoch became an independent director on the board of Tesla. [27]

In October 2018, Murdoch left Sky after Comcast took the majority control of the company.[28]

In March 2019, 21st Century Fox was sold to The Walt Disney Company, ending Murdoch's tenure as CEO.[29]

In July 2020, Murdoch resigned from the board of directors of News Corp. His resignation letter stated that his resignation was "due to disagreements over certain editorial content published by the Company’s news outlets and certain other strategic decisions".[4][30][31]

In 2022 multiple sources report Lupa India, the investment company set up by Uday Shankar and James Murdoch, is in the final stages of picking up a 39 per cent stake in Viacom18.[32]

Phone hacking scandal and aftermath[edit]

On 7 July 2011, James Murdoch announced the closure of the British tabloid newspaper the News of the World in the wake of a phone hacking scandal.[33]

On 19 July 2011, along with his father, Rupert, he appeared at a hearing of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee. He appeared once again before the same committee on 10 November 2011. James maintained that until late in 2010 he was unaware that more than one "rogue reporter" from the News of the World tabloid had been involved in phone hacking.[34] This statement was challenged by the formal legal manager and editor for the newspaper, who claimed they had informed James of the "Transcript for Neville" email, a potential "smoking gun" indicating several of the newspaper's journalists may have been involved, during the settlement negotiations with Gorden Taylor in 2008 and alerted him to the potential liability if this document became public.

On 22 July 2011, Britain's prime minister, David Cameron, said that Murdoch has "questions to answer in Parliament," a day after former top executives of the News of the World accused the News Corporation executive of giving "mistaken" evidence.[35]

In November 2011, British newspapers reported that Murdoch had resigned as chairman of News Group Newspapers, the holding company above The Sun, News of the World and Times Newspapers Ltd, itself owner of The Times and The Sunday Times. News Group Newspapers is the company subject to a series of lawsuits, all related to the phone hacking scandal. James Murdoch's resignation was also said to be related to the 12 October 2011 resignation[clarification needed] of another Dow Jones executive, Andrew Langhoff, after a company whistleblower revealed an editorial scam and questionable circulation dealings at The Wall Street Journal Europe.[36][37]

In February 2012, News Corp announced that Murdoch would be stepping down as executive chairman of its British newspaper arm. The company said he would remain deputy chief operating officer of News Corp and focus on the company's international TV business,[38] including continued responsibility for BSkyB.[39] He stepped down also from the GlaxoSmithKline board.[40]

In April 2012, he stood down as chairman of BSkyB, but remained on the board.[41] He was replaced as chairman by Nicholas Ferguson.

In September 2012, Murdoch was criticised by the British Office of Communications (Ofcom), which concluded that he "repeatedly fell short of the conduct to be expected of as a chief executive and chairman" and that his lack of action in relation to phone hacking was "difficult to comprehend and ill-judged".[42]

Personal life[edit]

Murdoch married Kathryn Hufschmid in 2000;[43] the couple have three children, Anneka (born 2003), Walter (born 2004), and Emerson (born 2008). Kathryn works for the Clinton Climate Initiative, a charitable foundation set up by the former U.S. President, Bill Clinton in 2006.[13] In 2013, the couple launched Quadrivium Foundation.[44] Murdoch also donated money to the Clinton Foundation, the nonprofit organization run by Chelsea, Bill, and Hillary Clinton.[45]

Murdoch was instrumental in the formation of Sky Procycling and is a keen cyclist himself.[46] He maintains an early morning gym routine and has a black belt in karate.[47][48]

In 2020, Murdoch and his wife each donated US$615,000 to the Biden campaign.[49]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "James Murdoch: has the heir apparent changed more than his look?". The Guardian. 29 January 2016.
  2. ^ "James Murdoch | Biography & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  3. ^ "10-K". www.sec.gov. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  4. ^ a b Grynbaum, Michael M.; Lee, Edmund (31 July 2020). "James Murdoch Resigns From Board of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp". The New York Times.
  5. ^ "James Murdoch leaves BSkyB job". BBC News. 3 April 2012. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  6. ^ Robinson, James (9 December 2007). "Triumph of the family man". The Observer – via The Guardian.
  7. ^ Sabbagh, Dan (29 February 2012). "James Murdoch resigns as News International chairman". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  8. ^ Murdoch steps down as BSkyB chairman Dan Sabbagh, 3 April 2012, The Guardian (London)
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i "James Murdoch: A chip off the old block?". BBC News. 4 November 2003. Retrieved 6 March 2007.
  10. ^ Rushton, Katherine (1 May 2012). "What does the Select Committee report mean for Murdoch's empire?". Retrieved 1 August 2020 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  11. ^ Culture, Media and Sport Committee, 11th report, News International and phone-hacking SMS Select Committee Report, phone-hacking, May 2012
  12. ^ Rohm, Wendy Goldman (12 March 2002). The Murdoch Mission: The Digital Transformation of a Media Empire. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-471-20539-5.
  13. ^ a b Robinson, James (9 December 2007). "Triumph of the family man". The Observer. London. Retrieved 9 December 2007.
  14. ^ Mongol. "James Murdoch Bio, Facts, CEO of 21st Century Fox, Party, Net Worth, Married, Wife, Age, Wiki, Fox News, Career, Family, Salary, Famous, Nationality". FactMandu. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
  15. ^ "MICHAEL GUDINSKI AM". Archived from the original on 19 April 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  16. ^ Bell, Emily (5 November 2003). "Rupert and the joys of nepotism". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 6 March 2007.
  17. ^ a b James Robinson "James Murdoch hits out at BBC and regulators at Edinburgh TV festival", The Guardian, 28 August 2009
  18. ^ Peston, Robert (7 December 2007). "Murdoch son gets key media role". BBC News. Retrieved 5 May 2010.
  19. ^ "News Corporation Announces Intent to Pursue Separation of Businesses to Enhance Strategic Alignment and Increase Operational Flexibility | News Corp". 28 June 2012. Retrieved 1 August 2020.
  20. ^ Tryhorn, Chris (2 February 2009). "James Murdoch takes GlaxoSmithKline role". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 5 May 2010.
  21. ^ Murdoch's Son: BBC Expansion Is "Chilling," A Threat To Independent Journalism. The Huffington Post. 29 August 2009.
  22. ^ "BBC Trust response to 2009 MacTaggart Lecture" (PDF). The Guardian. London. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  23. ^ White, Michael (22 April 2010). "Murdoch-Wade posse crash Independent's office – that's pretty uncool, isn't it?". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 8 September 2010.
  24. ^ Gelles, David (16 April 2014). "James Murdoch Joins Board of Advertising Start-Up". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  25. ^ Faber, David (11 June 2015). "Murdoch prepping to step down from 21st Century Fox". CNBC.
  26. ^ Ahmed, Kamal (29 January 2016). "James Murdoch takes over at Sky". BBC News. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  27. ^ "Tesla Welcomes Linda Johnson Rice and James Murdoch as New Independent Directors to its Board". 17 July 2017. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  28. ^ "James Murdoch quits Sky as Comcast takes control". Sky News. Retrieved 1 August 2020.
  29. ^ "James Murdoch, Adrift From Fox and Disney, Plots an Independent Future". The Hollywood Reporter. 15 April 2019. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  30. ^ "James Murdoch resigns from board of News Corporation". the Guardian. 31 July 2020.
  31. ^ "Media mogul Rupert Murdoch's son leaves News Corp board". NetIndian. IANS. 1 August 2020. Retrieved 1 August 2020.
  32. ^ Gupta, Surajeet Das (27 January 2022). "Uday Shankar, James Murdoch firm to pick up 39% stake in Viacom 18". Business Standard India. Retrieved 27 January 2022.
  33. ^ Owen, Paul (7 July 2011). "News of the World to close on Sunday – live coverage | guardian.co.uk". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
  34. ^ Sedghi, Amy; Rogers, Simon (20 July 2011). "James and Rupert Murdoch at the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee – full transcript". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 12 November 2020. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  35. ^ "Cameron says James Murdoch has questions to answer in Parliament". US: CNN. 22 July 2011. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  36. ^ "Publisher of WSJ Europe Resigns After Ethics Inquiry". WSJ edition. US. 12 October 2011.
  37. ^ Davies, Nick (12 October 2011). "Wall Street Journal circulation scam claims senior Murdoch executive". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
  38. ^ "James Murdoch resigns from News International", The Associated Press via CBCnews, 29 February 2012. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  39. ^ Sabbagh, Dan, "James Murdoch resigns as News International chairman", The Guardian, 29 February 2012. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  40. ^ Werdiger, Julia, and Alan Cowell, "James Murdoch Gives Up Role at British Unit", The New York Times, 29 February 2012. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  41. ^ BBC News 24 and Ceefax
  42. ^ O'Carroll, Lisa and Lizzy Davies (20 September 2012). "Sky ruled fit for broadcast licence, but James Murdoch comes in for criticism". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  43. ^ Knox, Malcolm (November 2009). "RISING SON". The Monthly. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  44. ^ "Quadrivium". Quadrivium. Retrieved 1 August 2020.
  45. ^ "Clinton Foundation donors include dozens of media organizations, individuals" Politico. May 15, 2015.
  46. ^ Wiggins, B., 2012. My Time. p. 239
  47. ^ Wilkinson, Peter; Neild, Barry (29 November 2012). "James Murdoch: Son of the Sun king". CNN. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  48. ^ Premack, Rachel. "James Murdoch is reportedly the top candidate to succeed Elon Musk as Tesla chairman — here's a look at his life and career". Business Insider. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  49. ^ "Biden is shrinking Trump’s financial advantage with the help of giant donors." New York Times. July 16, 2020.

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