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Is James Murdoch still ready to leave blood on the rafters?


By Noel Young, Correspondent

November 13, 2011 | 3 min read

COMMENTARY on this week's Man in the Spotlight

James Murdoch

A week ago today the Observer told the tale of how, when he was a teenager, James Murdoch and his older brother, Lachlan, used to hang from the rafters of their father's house in Colorado, and challenge one another to pull-up competitions that left red stains on the woodwork.

Their mother Anna – Rupert Murdoch's second wife – told a Murdoch executive who visited the house that the boys were so pig-headed they would compete until their hands bled. "James usually won," she told the visitor.

The Observer piece appeared in the week that James Murdoch was due to return to Parliament to face questions from MPs investigating the phone-hacking affair.

The Observer writer asked : "Has James been so tarnished by the hacking affair that he will never land the top job at News Corp itself? By the end of the week, the answer should be somewhat clearer."

In fact , it is far from clear: Is James, now 38, still winning?

James , who famously likes to work standing up, was seated for the Commons hearing, which may have cramped his style on that day.

However, the Guardian later reported that he was expected to be characterised as "ill-informed rather than mendacious by MPs." Score 1 for James.

Tom Crone, the paper's former lawyer, on the other hand , was expected to be heavily criticised when the Committee publishes its report into the affair.

Next, the directors of BSkyB wrote to shareholders urging them to re-elect James as chairman at their AGM on November 29 despite the controversy over his handling of the phone-hacking scandal.

Sky's deputy chairman, Nick Ferguson, who is also the leading independent director, told shareholders that Murdoch had "always acted with integrity" during his time at Sky. He was chief executive for four years until his appointment as chairman in 2007. Score 2 for James.

This is a long and winding road. James may still be prepared to leave blood on the rafters if that is what it takes to win.


The Sun News Corp Rupert Murdoch

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