James Murdoch, a Harvard drop out, former cartoonist and co-founder of a hip hop music label, did not always appear destined to follow his father as a media baron, but he will take the CEO job at Twenty-First Century Fox with backing from some important investors.
Passing the torch to his eldest sons, Rupert Murdoch plans to hand the Fox CEO job to James and elevate James's older brother Lachlan to co-chief executive chairman, a person familiar with the matter said. Murdoch, 84, will be executive chairman and is likely to retain an active role.
But James, 42, is "calling the shots as CEO and James is the one who has got recent operational experience," Cowen and Company analyst Doug Creutz said.
Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a family supporter and Fox investor who described James as a "giant" in previous comments to Reuters, described him as grasping the digital world, understanding how it is transforming the media landscape.
Investors often say that James is more enthusiastic about courting shareholders while being less sentimental about assets than his father, who built an empire starting with newspapers and was widely seen to have overpaid for Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones & Co.