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News Corp. declined to comment, but FT reported on Thursday that discussions are for plans that would have Peter Rice, the head of Fox Networks Group, report to Murdoch, who is deputy COO at News Corp.
According to FT, Murdoch wanted the expanded role announced in July, coinciding with Rice’s promotion, but Rupert Murdoch, his father and the company’s chairman, as well as COO Chase Carey, wanted to put it off until controversy died out in Europe.
Murdoch, of course, has been controversial due to his role as head of News Group Newspapers, which has been roiled by a phone-hacking scandal.
Murdoch, though, was recently cleared of wrongdoing — while simultaneously being berated, though — by Ofcom, the “independent regulator and competition authority for the U.K. communications industries.”
“Conduct in relation to events at News Group Newspapers repeatedly fell short of the conduct to be expected of him as chief executive officer and chairman,” Ofcom said in a report on whether British Sky Broadcasting is fit to hold a broadcasting license. BSkyB is 39.1 percent owned by News Corp.
But even while insluting the executive’s leadership, Ofcom concluded that “evidence available to date does not provide reasonable basis to conclude that James Murdoch deliberately engaged in any wrongdoing.”
News Corp. responded to the Ofcom report by writing, in part: “As Ofcom itself acknowledged, James deserves credit for his role as Chief Executive, then Chairman and now non-executive Director, in leading Sky to an outstanding record as a broadcaster, including its excellent compliance record.”
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