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Murdoch has long considered resigning: Wall St. Journal

20 july 2011, 10:59
Embattled media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, who faces British lawmakers Tuesday, has been considering turning over the reins of his News Corp. empire for more than a year, AFP reports, citing The Wall Street Journal.

"Even before the scandal erupted in recent weeks, the elder Murdoch had considered stepping down as CEO in favor of chief operating officer Chase Carey, according to people familiar with the situation," the Journal reported Monday, adding that under that scenario, Murdoch would remain as executive chairman.

The switch had been under consideration for more than a year, said the News Corp.-owned Journal, which quoted a person familiar with the situation.

"Even if Mr. Murdoch decides to make this change, he wouldn't do it right now, the person said. Instead it would likely happen in several months' time, when presumably the furor had died down," the Journal said, quoting its source.

A switch now, however, even if long intended, would have enormous symbolic significance, the newspaper added.

The 80-year-old Australian-born Murdoch, one of the most powerful press magnates in the world, will appear before Britain's cross-party Culture, Media and Sport Committee on Tuesday accompanied by son James, the 38-year-old heir apparent to the News Corp. media empire, and protege Rebekah Brooks, 43, former chief executive of News International, Murdoch's British newspaper wing.

The Murdoch-owned News of the World, a now shuttered weekly tabloid, is accused of having hacked into the voice mails of some 4,000 people since the year 2000, including politicians, celebrities as well as crime victims.

The scandal has spread across the Atlantic to the United States, where the FBI has acknowledged it is looking into claims made last week by British tabloid The Mirror that News Corp. employees may have targeted phone records of September 11 victims.

And Murdoch's long-term aide Les Hinton, who served as chairman of News International during the phone hacking at the News of the World, resigned on Friday as chief executive of News Corp.'s Dow Jones unit.

Dow Jones publishes The Wall Street Journal, the flagship of Murdoch's US print operations.

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