Decline of a dynasty? Elisabeth Murdoch ducks board position on News Corp

Elisabeth Murdoch has declined an invitation to be nominated for a place on the board of News Corp. The move signals a decline in the prospects of a Murdoch dynasty

Rupert Murdoch’s actions over a period of years suggests his intentions of establishing a Murdoch dynasty at News Corp. The story has all the drama of a TV soap opera with a dash of reality TV as well. Part of the interest has been over which sibling would be most favoured to succeed the tycoon.

Any Murdoch is better than none

It has been suggested by biographers that any Murdoch would be prefered to someone outside the family. This is harder to achieve in a world in which there are interested parties or stakeholders. These extend to institutional investors, and governments concerned with Corporate responsibilities for ethical governance.

As might be expected, the eldest son Lachlan was front runner for heir to Rupert before signalling his reluctance to pursue a career in News Corp although remaining on the board. This placed youngest son James as a front runner in the speculation stakes. The 2011 problems of governance in the proposed takeover of Sky may have weakened the chances of James, but arguably have weakened the chances of all the Murdoch family to take over at the top of News Corp.


Rupert Murdoch has no prejudice against women as business leaders. Elisabeth Murdoch was for a while a front-runner as his heir, and has demonstrated considerable leadership flair in creating her own media businesses. However, Elisabeth has, like Lachlan implied that her interests would lie outside the top job at News Corp. However, her interests have remained intertwined with those of her father.
Although allegations of nepotism have been made, there can be little doubt of her capabilities to manage large media operations.

According to the BBC

News Corp said Elisabeth Murdoch, 42, told [News Corp] directors that it would be “inappropriate” to join the board. She was expected to join the News Corp board after it bought Shine Group, the television production company she runs.


Rupert’s eldest daughter Prudence MacLeod sits on the board of Times Newspapers Ltd, part of News International.

Then there’s Wendi

Rupert’s formidable wife Wendi has been considered a serious candidate for some while. A trust-fund established for their children has become a critical aspect within the power relationships in the extended family.

Leaders born and made

Dynasties provide rich materials for students of leadership. The eventual winners in the succession stakes sometimes justify what others call nepotism. Often however, second and third generation family members lack the entrepreneurial flair of the founders.

4 Responses to Decline of a dynasty? Elisabeth Murdoch ducks board position on News Corp

  1. Ivor says:

    I’d hate to see the Murdoch dynasty die, it’s been good for all, not matter what has happened of late, we depended on the Murdoch papers, media to give us not only news but entertainment. Murdoch was the best brains in Oz behind the Rugby League broadcasts until Arthurson and Quale spoilt what could have been the best thing to happen to the sport via Murdoch. All who wanted the sport to be aired worldwide with big stakes for players,managers, stadiums, fans and the economy lost out due to Murdoch taking it overseas, thanks to the small thinking of those two Manly clowns, we lost what could have been the best long before it’s time. Good luck to the Murdoch clan, the ‘tall poppy’ syndrome is alive and kicking, I for one, knows that governments ‘phone hack’ ‘sell info’ ‘are corrupt’ and ‘lie’ .this is a case of ‘dont do as I do,do as I say’. Maybe you wrote too much truth re those in judgement. It’s their payback time I feel, but hey, things could be worse, you could be like them. The faceless ones. Cheers

  2. nc14oh14ra17pa103 says:

    The effect of the Murdochs on the British press has been utterly disastrous. It took over a decent trade union newspaper resized it, filled with porn and trivial rubbish we now know was obtained by largely illegal means and linked it to parties, usually one, the Tories, who would do whatever was best for Murdoch’s empire.

    Really Murdoch only signed to Labour when the Tories were not sufficiently red in capitalist maw and seeming to be a bit “one nation”. Labour had to fawn to the Emperor to be allowed a few crumbs from the table.

  3. Ivor and nc14…indicate how Rupert Murdoch polarises opinions.

    The issues of ethics and motives run through leadership stories and largely get ignored in B School accounts. There is a school of critical theorists who would find some common ground with nc14. Strategy writers would be closer to Ivor.

    LWD encourages subscribers to examine and test the ‘maps’ pf leadership thoughts and actions as part of their own leadership development.

  4. stone crusher…

    […]Decline of a dynasty? Elisabeth Murdoch ducks board position on News Corp « Leaders We Deserve[…]…

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