Rupert Murdoch has confirmed that he can’t replace Peter Chernin as CEO from within the ranks of News Corp, no matter how he spins earlier management changes. Whispers have been growing that he has been talking to Chase Carey, a former senior News executive who joined Murdoch roughly at the same time as Peter Chernin did.

Carey runs DirecTV, which he has done since it was sold to John Malone’s Liberty media several years ago as Murdoch settled a brawl with Malone that had threatened News. Malone had snapped up 19% of News’ voting shares during the time News fled Australia for US residency. Murdoch had owned DirecTV, but sold it to Malone (plus some other assets) in exchange for the shares and a standstill agreement.

Since then then DirecTV has been the best performing US broadcast media company, as it has ridden out the recession well, incurring lower revenue losses, losing fewer customers while maintaining reasonable profits, than any other group, especially News Corp.

The Financial Times reported overnight that Carey was negotiationing directly with Murdoch. Mr Carey’s contract with DirecTV finishes in 18 months and a return to news will take him back to a company where he was considered a better executive than Mr Chernin for much of his time there. He is a former chief executive of Fox Television, Sky Global Networks; a former co-chief operating officer of Fox Entertainment and served on News Corp’s board until 2007.

Peter Fray

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