Murdoch has long considered resigning: Wall St. Journal

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Embattled media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has been considering turning over the reins of his News Corp. empire for more than a year, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

"Even before the scandal erupted in recent weeks, the elder Murdoch had considered stepping down as CEO in favor of chief operating officer Chase Carey, according to people familiar with the situation," the Journal reported, adding that under that scenario, Murdoch would remain as executive chairman.

The switch had been under consideration for more than a year, said the News Corp.-owned Journal, which quoted a person familiar with the situation.

"Even if Mr. Murdoch decides to make this change, he wouldn't do it right now, the person said. Instead it would likely happen in several months' time, when presumably the furor had died down," the Journal said, quoting its source.

A switch now, however, even if long intended, would have enormous symbolic significance, the newspaper added.

The 80-year-old Australian and American Murdoch, one of the most powerful press magnates in the world, will appear before Britain's cross-party Culture, Media and Sport Committee on Tuesday accompanied by son James, the 38-year-old heir apparent to the News Corp. media empire, and protege Rebekah Brooks, 43, the "queen of the tabloids."

The Murdoch-owned News of the World, a now shuttered weekly tabloid, is accused of having hacked into the voice mails of some 4,000 people since the year 2000, including politicians, celebrities as well as crime victims.

© 2011 AFP

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