If you hadn’t already sussed out the gravity of the News of the World hacking story, take a moment to consider who joined Rupert Murdoch this weekend as the News Corp. chairman attempted to deal with the blowback.
Shoring up Murdoch in his London foray was second-in-command Chase Carey, the deputy chairman, president and COO of Rupert’s global media conglomerate and the most powerful executive on the company org chart who doesn’t also happen to bear the surname.
Carey’s reputation is that of a “cleaner”—think Harvey Keitel as Mr. Wolf in Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, but with a Rollie Fingers mustache. He's also largely viewed as the man who could take over should the 80-year-old media baron step down, assuming a family member doesn't—or can't—take the job. (Given the magnitude of the crisis, that could be sooner than Murdoch partisans might have hoped.)
It was Carey who, by all reports, advised Murdoch to cut the tabloid loose in order to preserve News Corp.’s bid to takeover BSkyB, although the drastic measure may prove to be insufficient for an outraged Britain.
Unfortunately for Carey, some disgruntled investors aren’t letting him off the hook for the current crisis. On Monday, the executive was named as a co-defendant in a lawsuit brought by a group of institutional investors, who charged that “Carey’s long friendship with Murdoch, his tenure with the company and his exorbitant executive compensation prevent him from asserting independent judgment.”
For the fiscal year ended June 30, Carey received $26 million in compensation from News Corp.