News Corp.’s independent directors are discussing shifting Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey to the role of chief executive officer, Bloomberg reports from anonymous sources. This would make him Rupert Murdoch’s first-ever successor after almost six decades as CEO.
The change in leadership is not yet a done deal, according to sources. The company’s independent directors will reportedly make a more concrete decision following Murdoch’s appearance before the U.K. Parliament today. Reportedly, News Corp. executives who saw Murdoch rehearsing for the appearance were not confident in how he handled the questions given to him.
Carey’s name was thrown around yesterday in a meeting of directors, who wondered if replacing Murdoch at the top would spur a favorable reaction from the stock market, according to anonymous sources. However, a senior News Corp. executive told Bloomberg that in fact, no such meeting took place yesterday. He said the company’s existing succession plans are reevaluated on occasion, but that no accelerated implementation has been put into action due to the recent events at the News of the World. Thomas Perkins, a member of the board, told the Associated Press that Murdoch has the board’s support.
Even if the anonymous reports that the board is seriously considering replacing Murdoch with Carey are true, analysts say Murdoch’s voting power is too strong to be ignored. "He can just replace them if he wants," Charles Easton, director of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware, told Bloomberg. "They may do something, but it will be temporary. Maybe he becomes chairman, but this is still his company and he can do what he wants. When he controls the stock, he controls the board."