He has had oversight of the company's Asian and European operations, including London newspapers, since 2007. In that role, he approved several settlements — one for more than $1 million — to victims of phone hacking. James Murdoch said this month that he did not have enough information when he authorized the payments.
The News of the World debacle might have increased tensions in the relationships among the siblings, according to people close to the company.
Family dynamics are key to the palace intrigue because each of Murdoch's four adult children (including daughter Prudence by his first wife) have equal votes in the Murdoch Family Trust, according to people familiar with the arrangement. The trust holds Rupert Murdoch's voting shares in News Corp., which gives the family control of the company.
Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey is a favorite among investors as Murdoch's successor. Although Carey is not seen as having Murdoch's vision, the Harvard MBA is respected on Wall Street and is viewed as a decisive and unsentimental.
"He's not going to push his own son out and he's not going to jump himself until he's good and ready," a former high-level News Corp. executive who asked not to be identified said about Rupert Murdoch. "People have been assessing Rupert's next move based on what a normal company would do. But anyone who buys News shares knows what they're buying: They are buying Rupert and his family."