Scoopmeister Nikki Finke is opining on the upcoming departure of Peter Chernin, Rupert Murdoch’s number two man at News Corp. Finke suspects that perhaps Chernin wanted to be more than a “seat warmer” for the next generation of Murdochs:
In terms of News Corp., the assumption has always been that the youngest son, who runs all of News Corp.’s international assets, would eventually take over. As Chernin himself liked to tell people, “I’m just warming the seat for a Murdoch.” It would also calm Wall Street concerns about successorship at News Corp., since Rupert Murdoch is 78 years old.
However! Finke says this assumption may be misguided: “I hear James [Murdoch] simply isn’t ready: He’s a know-it-all who parties hearty and isn’t picking up the business or running it as he should.
So what? It’s no secret the children have suffered their own rifts with each other and their father — daughter Elisabeth recently turned down a seat on the board — and Finke reports on the unlikely rumor that division heads will report directly to Rupe and do away with Chernin’s position altogether. The only thing that appears to be crystal clear at this point is that the timing of all this change could not be worse.