James Murdoch rises at News Corp.

Rupe picks son for Europe, Asia operations

Rupert Murdoch has finally chosen which of his children will succeed him at News Corp.

The global mogul is carving out a slice of his empire — Europe and Asia — and handing it over to his son James Murdoch to run.

However, Murdoch fils will not give up his connection with News Corp.’s British satcaster BSkyB, where he has been CEO for four years.

Tellingly, his 76-year-old father is standing aside as BSkyB’s non-executive chairman and giving the title to James. This move ends Rupe’s formal association with the platform he founded in 1989.

James Murdoch also will rejoin the board at News Corp., ceding his BSkyB CEO post to chief financial officer Jeremy Darroch.

James Murdoch’s new responsibilities will include running News Corp.’s London-based newspapers — The Times, The Sun, The Sunday Times and the News of the World — satcaster Sky Italia and pan-Asian TV group Star, where he cut his teeth.

The news follows Dow Jones chief Richard Zannino’s announcement on Thursday that he intends to quit once News Corp.’s takeover is complete. Shareholders vote on the $5.2 billion deal next week.

Zannino’s announcement sparked a wide-ranging reshuffle of News Corp. execs.

Les Hinton, the executive chairman of News Intl., which owns the four British newspapers, is expected to become chief executive of Dow Jones. Times editor Robert Thomson looks likely to become publisher at Dow Jones, replacing L. Gordon Crovitz.

Thursday’s sudden changes clearly position 34-year-old James as the man most likely to become chairman and chief executive of News Corp, the media group that also owns the MySpace social networking website and the Fox film studio.

The Murdoch succession has been up in the air since 2005, when Lachlan Murdoch ankled his executive role at News Corp. in a spat over the inheritance for Rupert Murdoch’s two young daughters by his latest wife, Wendi Deng.

(Wire services contributed to this report.)

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