Less than two years after James Murdoch resigned from his leadership position at News Corp because of a phone-hacking scandal, he has more power than ever.
On Wednesday morning, 21st Century Fox announced that the 41-year-old son of the company’s founder, Rupert Murdoch, had been promoted to co-chief operating officer of the company where he will work alongside Fox president and COO Chase Carey.
The promotion might seem surprising — if his dad wasn’t in charge.
Flash back to in 2011, when the younger Murdoch seemed primed to one day succeed his father, Rupert Murdoch, as the CEO of News Corp, which then included print and TV operations under one massive, globe-spanning roof.
Then he was caught in the massive phone hacking scandal that rocked the UK and riveted media watchers worldwide. He was forced to resign from his position as chairman of BSkyB as well as his role as head of News Group Newspapers. The phone-hacking at the company’s papers took place under his watch.
A report by a British Parliamentary committee found that he demonstrated an “astonishing” lack of curiosity and “even wilful ignorance” in his investigations of phone hacking.
But he professed his innocence, only admitting that he should have been more aware and asked harder questions about the bubbling scandal.
“It would have been better if I had asked more questions,” Murdoch told the House of Commons’ media committee in 2012. “However, the truth is that incomplete answers and what now appear to be false assurances were given to the questions that I asked.”
And so, a scant few years after he took the fall, he has found himself in a better position than ever. Murdoch will have direct responsibility for Fox Networks Group, as well as oversee pay TV operations in Europe and Asia.
It was also announced on Wednesday that his brother, Lachlan Murdoch, would also be ascending the News Corp/21st Century Fox ladder. That likely puts him in the lead to succeed their father as CEO.