If all does not go according to plan today as Murdoch appears in front of the British Parliament to answer questions about the phone-hacking scandal rocking his company, the 80-year-old CEO might be forced to step down, and current COO Chase Carey tapped to replace him.
Chase ... who?
Carey might not be well known outside media circles, but he has quite the reputation on the inside.
It was also Carey who, according to reports, advised Murdoch to get rid of News of the World in order to preserve News Corp.’s bid to takeover BSkyB. (That, by the way, didn’t work out too well.)
Carey’s been well paid for his services, receiving $26 million in compensation from News Corp. in fiscal year 2010, $15 million of which was a bonus. In 2009, Forbes Magazine put him 23rd on the list of those receiving top executive pay.
That level of compensation might also lead to Carey’s downfall — on Monday, Carey was named as a co-defendant in a lawsuit brought by a group of institutional investors.
“Carey’s long friendship with Murdoch, his tenure with the company and his exorbitant executive compensation prevent him from asserting independent judgment,” investors charged.
But Carey, who has served in some 10 different executive roles in his more than 20-year tenure with the company, is still the likely successor . Here are three things you need to know about the man who might soon head News Corp.:
1. He’s a smart guy.
AdWeek wrote that at any News Corp. meeting, “he’s usually the smartest guy in the room.”
When MLB Network was getting ready to launch in 2009, MLB Network executive vice president Tim Brosnan admitted, “The secret weapon in our deal was Chase Carey, who is a smart guy and a brilliant strategist.”
2. He’s a tough guy.
Last October, in the middle of the 2010 World Series, Carey got sick of Cablevision’s unwillingness to negotiate with Fox’s broadcasting unit, and ordered Fox to yank its programming from Cablevision’s New York-Long Island-New Jersey footprint.
Most recently, Carey is the one who is believed to have cut loose Myspace, a struggling entity News Corp. executives had been nervous about letting go.
“Chase is willing to break a little furniture if necessary to get people's attention,” John Hane, a communications lawyer with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman whose clients include Fox affiliates, told the LA Times.
3. He’s also just one of the guys.
“Carey’s idea of the perfect night is a six-pack and a Yankee game,” a LA Times profile said of Carey in March.
His favorite beverage is Budweiser, which David Hill, the chairman of Fox Sports, has told Carey is “embarrassing.” That doesn’t stop him, writes the Times, because he’s “just-one-of-the-guys.”