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James Murdoch

Speaking at Verge, the digital media event co-managed by Ogilvy and Unilever
Born December 13, 1972 (1972-12-13) (age 37)
United Kingdom
Occupation Chairman and CEO of News Corporation Europe and Asia

Chairman of SKY Italia
Chairman of STAR TV
Non-Executive Chairman of British Sky Broadcasting

Non-Executive Director of GlaxoSmithKline.
Spouse(s) Kathryn Hufschmid (m. 2000-present)
Children Anneka (b. 2003)
Walter (b. 2006)

James Murdoch (born 13 December 1972, United Kingdom) is the son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch and currently serves as Chairman and Chief Executive of News Corporation, Europe and Asia, overseeing assets such as News International (British newspapers), SKY Italia (satellite television), and STAR TV (satellite television in Asia).

He sits on the News Corporation Board of Directors and is a member of the Office of the Chairman. He is also non-executive chairman of British Sky Broadcasting, in which News Corporation has a controlling minority stake.

He was formerly an executive vice-president of News Corporation, the controlling shareholder of BSkyB, and served on the boards of directors of News Datacom and of News Corporation.[1]


Early life

He is the fourth of billionaire media tycoon Rupert Murdoch's six children.[2]

As a youngster James was regarded as the best of the Murdoch children, but was also considered something of a rebel.[1] He first came to public notice as a 15-year-old intern at the Sydney Daily Mirror, but made headlines in the rival The Sydney Morning Herald after he was photographed asleep on a sofa at a press conference.[1]

Murdoch attended Horace Mann School in New York City[1] and graduated in 1991. He then studied film and history at Harvard University, where Murdoch edited underground magazines and drew a comic strip for the college's famed satirical magazine, Harvard Lampoon. He dropped out of university in 1995 without completing his studies.[1] With university friends Brian Brater and Jarret Myer, he backed the establishment of Rawkus Records, an independent hip hop record label. The company was bought by News Corporation in 1998.[1]

Business career

In 1996, he joined News Corporation and was appointed chairman of Festival Records. He took charge of News Corporation's internet operations, where he invested in a series of ventures, including financial website TheStreet and the short-lived online music site Whammo, with mixed results.[1] He also continued to contribute cartoons to US magazine Gear.

Murdoch is credited with sparking his father's interest in the Internet, and he reportedly tried to persuade his father to buy internet company Pointcast for US$450 million; it was subsequently sold to another company for just $7 million.[1]

After installing a new management team at Festival, Murdoch purchased the controlling 51% share of Mushroom Records in 1999, and the merged group was rebranded as Festival Mushroom Records.[citation needed] It was at first thought that News might use FMR as the foundation of a new international entertainment company, but Festival struggled while Murdoch was in charge and after his departure its fortunes declined rapidly; the company was wound up in late 2005 and its remaining assets were sold. The recording catalogue was sold to the Australian division of Warner Music for only AU$10 million in October 2005, and the publishing division was sold to Michael Gudinski a month later, for an undisclosed sum.

In May 2000, the newly married Murdoch was appointed chairman and chief executive of News Corporation's ailing Asian satellite service Star Television, which at the time was losing £100m a year, and he moved to Hong Kong.[1]

On 13 February 2003, James became a director of BSkyB. Later that year, he controversially became CEO of BSkyB, in which News Corporation owns a controlling minority stake. His appointment sparked accusations of nepotism, with some commentators and shareholders feeling that the job had not been opened to outsiders and that Murdoch was too young and inexperienced to run one of the UK's top companies[3] (on appointment he was by far the youngest chief executive of a FTSE 100 company).

Following the shock resignation of his brother Lachlan Murdoch from his executive positions at News Corporation on 29 July 2005, James is widely viewed as his father's heir-apparent.[4]

On 7 December 2007 Murdoch stepped down as CEO from BSkyB and was appointed Non-Executive Chairman of the company (a position formerly held by his father, Rupert).[5]

In a related announcement, Murdoch will also "take direct responsibility for the strategic and operational development of News Corporation's television, newspaper and related digital assets in Europe, Asia and the Middle East".[6] This will include holdings such as News International, SKY Italia, STAR Group ltd and possibly other News Corp. related assets. He will be based at News International's headquarters in Wapping, East London.

February 2009 James Murdoch was appointed a non executive director with GlaxoSmithKline the manufacturer of the MMR vaccine and the current swine flu vaccine.

On August 28 2009, Murdoch delivered the MacTaggart Memorial Lecture at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, in which he attacked the BBC and UK media regulator Ofcom calling the BBC's expansion "chilling" and "In this all-media marketplace, the expansion of state-sponsored journalism is a threat to the plurality and independence of news provision, which are so important for our democracy".[4][7][7]. The BBC Chairman Sir Michael Lyons officially responded "We have to be careful not to reduce the whole of broadcasting to some simple economic transactions. The BBC's public purposes stress the importance of the well-tested principles of educating and informing, and an impartial contribution to debate in the UK."[8]

Personal life

James Murdoch has 2 children, Anneka (born in May 2003 in Hong Kong) and Walter (born 2006), with his American wife Kathryn Hufschmid, who works for the Clinton Climate Initiative, a charitable foundation set up by the former US president, Bill Clinton in 2006. [2]


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