James Murdoch

James Murdoch
James Murdoch

James Murdoch speaking at a digital media conference
Born December 13, 1972 (1972-12-13) (age 38)
Wimbledon, London, England
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 Kathryn Hufschmid (m. 2000–present)
Children Anneka (b. 2003)
Walter (b. 2006)
Parents Rupert Murdoch, Anna Maria Torv

James Rupert Jacob Murdoch (born 13 December 1972) is the younger 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 in Italy), Sky Deutschland, 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]

James Murdoch is a British subject by birth and a naturalised U.S. citizen. He would have lost Australian citizenship when his father became a U.S. citizen, but he is eligible to reclaim Australian citizenship.


Early life

He is the fourth of multibillionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s six children, and the third with Scottish-born Anna Maria Torv.[2]

As a youngster James was regarded as the brightest 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 U.S. 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 $7 million.[1]

After installing a new management team at Festival, Murdoch purchased the controlling 51 percent 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 A$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 also took “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 included holdings such as News International, SKY Italia, STAR Group ltd and possibly other News Corp. related assets. He was based at News International’s headquarters in Wapping, East London.

In February 2009, Murdoch was appointed a non-executive director with the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline.[7]

On 28 August 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][8] 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.”[9]

In April 2010, Murdoch and his associate Rebekah Brooks stormed into the offices of The Independent to complain about an advertisement campaign by the newspaper.[10] The advertisement read, “Rupert Murdoch won’t decide this election—you will.”

On 7 July 2011, James Murdoch announced the closure of the British tabloid newspaper the News of the World in the wake of a phone hacking scandal.[11]

On 19 July 2011, along with his father, Rupert, he appeared at a hearing of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee. He appeared once again before the same committee on Thursday 10 November 2011.

On 22 July 2011, Britain’s prime minister, David Cameron, said that James Murdoch has “questions to answer in Parliament,” a day after former top executives of the News of the World accused the News Corporation executive of giving “mistaken” evidence.[12]

Personal life

James Murdoch has three children, Anneka (born in May 2003 in Hong Kong), Walter (born 2006), and Emerson (born 2008) with his American wife Kathryn Hufschmid, who works for the Clinton Climate Initiative, a charitable foundation set up by the former U.S. president, Bill Clinton in 2006.[2]

Apparently in 2011, James Murdoch has been promoted and will relocate to New York. This has triggered a rumour that James is the person behind the $23 million purchase of the Muppet Mansion, the house formerly owned by Jim Henson. [13]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "James Murdoch: A chip off the old block?". BBC News. 4 November 2003. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3132678.stm. Retrieved 6 March 2007. 
  2. ^ a b Robinson, James (9 December 2007). "Triumph of the family man". The Observer (London). http://observer.guardian.co.uk/7days/story/0,,2224563,00.html. Retrieved 9 December 2007. 
  3. ^ Bell, Emily (5 November 2003). "Rupert and the joys of nepotism". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,,1078016,00.html. Retrieved 6 March 2007. 
  4. ^ a b James Robinson "James Murdoch hits out at BBC and regulators at Edinburgh TV festival", The Guardian, 28 August 2009
  5. ^ Peston, Robert (7 December 2007). "Murdoch son gets key media role". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7131975.stm. Retrieved 5 May 2010. 
  6. ^ News Corporation
  7. ^ Tryhorn, Chris (2 February 2009). "James Murdoch takes GlaxoSmithKline role". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/feb/02/james-murdoch-in-glaxosmithcline-role. Retrieved 5 May 2010. 
  8. ^ Murdoch's Son: BBC Expansion Is "Chilling," A Threat To Independent Journalism. Huffington Post. 29 August 2009.
  9. ^ The Guardian (London). http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Media/documents/2009/08/28/bbc-mactaggart-response.pdf. Retrieved 5 May 2010. 
  10. ^ White, Michael (22 April 2010). "Murdoch-Wade posse crash Independent's office – that's pretty uncool, isn’t it?". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/blog/2010/apr/22/murdoch-wade-crash-independent. Retrieved 8 Sep 2010. 
  11. ^ Owen, Paul (7 July 2011). "News of the World to close on Sunday – live coverage | Media | guardian.co.uk". Guardian (UK). http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/blog/2011/jul/07/news-of-the-world-phone-hacking-live-coverage. Retrieved 7 July 2011. 
  12. ^ "Cameron says James Murdoch has questions to answer in Parliament". CNN edition (US). 22 July 2011. http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/europe/07/22/britain.murdoch.mistaken/. Retrieved 22 Jul 2011. 
  13. ^ http://ny.curbed.com/tags/117-east-69th-street

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