A source close to Fox execs says James Murdoch has a huge challenge ahead

Rupert and James MurdochREUTERS/ Eddie KeoghRupert and James Murdoch

Earlier today, David Faber of CNBC reported that 21st Century Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch is stepping down, making way for his son, James Murdoch, to become the new boss.

We spoke to a source who is friendly with several 21st Century Fox executives about the news.

These are his thoughts:

  • “Rupert is likely to be still very involved.”
  • “I think the bigger story is [21st Century Fox chief operating officer] Chase [Carey] leaving, which was expected.”
  • “I have a lot of respect for James, but he’s still very young to run a company as big and far flung as Fox.”
  • “The hard part will be managing some big personalities in TV, theatrical, etc. [Fox television studio head] Dana Walden, [20th Century Fox film studio co-head] Stacy Snider, [CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment] Jim Gianopolis are all very talented but Chase [Carey] and Rupert kept them in line.”
  • “I bet Peter Rice [the CEO of FOX, the network] is gone. and [FOX Sports head] Randy Freer becomes top business executive at company.”
  • [Fox News head] Roger Ailes has lifetime job. The big issue is he has not developed a replacement. [There is a] very thin bench at Fox News, and that is the concern there.
  • “Newspaper company seems fine (albeit challenged).”
  • “Network TV biz is struggling (except for “Empire”). They are very worried about cable erosion.”
  • “They have absolutely no digital strategy or play right now. [There is] still lots of infighting there. James seems much more interested in it, but Chase was negative on digital.”

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