As the man who "presided over 18 months of denials" (as one writer put it) over the News of the World telephone hacking scandal, James Murdoch no longer appears to be the heir apparent to his father Rupert at News Corp, many analysts commented on Tuesday, following the revelation that nearly 60 percent of independent shareholders last week voted against his reelection to the News Corp board. The elder Murdoch's probable successor, they say, now appears to be Chase Carey, who was reelected to the board with the approval of 78 percent of the independents. While calls continue for James to step down as the head of News International, the umbrella group for News Corp's news operations in the U.K., he is showing no sign of doing so. (It was disclosed on Tuesday that he has been summoned to appear before a Parliamentary committee on November 10 to answer additional questions about the hacking scandal.) In his column for The Guardian newspaper, Dan Sabbagh wrote "Some insiders argue that he is now a 'dead man walking' because he has to contend with a drip-drip of revelations about the scale of hacking." Sabbah continued that James's "position as a family member means that he is under no immediate pressure to leave, but the issues that News Corp has to face, including several potential criminal trials of former NoW staff, means he is at risk of slow-motion damage -- what one insider described as a 'tragic choreography.'"

26/10/2011