The News Corp. COO tells analysts that U.K. parliamentary report contains "hard truths" but criticism of his boss was "purely partisan"
Rupert Murdoch has a friend, or at least a loyal subordinate, in Chase Carey.
The News Corp. chief operating officer told analysts and journalists on Thursday that he "flatly rejects" a recent report by a U.K. parliamentary committee that said that his boss' handling of the phone hacking scandal at News of the World showed he was unfit to lead the media empire.
"He’s one of the smartest and most forward-thinking executives of our time," Carey said of Murdoch.
He said that the committee's conclusion about Murdoch's ability was "a purely partisan finding," noting that the company had created 19,000 jobs in the U.K. through its various media properties.
Carey also brushed aside a question about whether or not the News Corp. board was considering asking James Murdoch to step down from the company with a curt "no." James Murdoch has been inextricably linked to the scandal from his time resigned as head of News International, parent company of the disgraced News of the World.
He stepped down from that post in February and resigned as chairman of BSkyB last month to relocate to New York where he will serve as deputy COO, but his stature in the company where he was once seen as his father's heir has noticeably diminished.
Though Carey was critical of the parliamentary report's conclusions, he did acknowledge that it contained "hard truths."
He said that the company had already taken steps to address the problems outlined in the report and treated the issue "very seriously."
The call with analysts came after News Corp. bested Wall Street's expectations on Wednesday with a stronger than anticipated third quarter earnings report. Revenue at the media giant climbed two percent to $8.4 billion, while profits jumped more than 45 percent to $937 million.
However, the report contained further evidence that try as it might to turn the page, the phone-hacking scandal at the now-shuttered News of the World continues to darken the company's balance sheet. The current quarter results include a $63 million charge related to the costs of the ongoing investigations into the closing of the U.K. tabloid.
Carey downplayed the possibility that any fresh revelations stemming from the hacking scandal could encourage U.S. advertisers to drop spots from the company's networks.
"I'd be shocked if there was," Carey said.