The non-family princeling in the court of King Rupert
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Even Chase Carey's colleagues are not quite sure what lies behind the moustache. The greying thicket, delicately twirled at the ends, may conceal a rugby wound or a car crash scar, they speculate. Or it could be a diversionary tactic; one unavoidably noticeable feature of a man who otherwise presents a studiously low-key face to the world? After two punishing weeks in which News Corp's executives have made headlines around the world, the 57-year-old and his handlebar now cannot escape the limelight.
When he returned to the media group in 2009 as chief operating officer after six years running DirecTV, the US satellite broadcaster, Rupert Murdoch dubbed him "one of my closest advisers and friends".
News Corp's Chairman and Chief Executive is losing friends fast, sacrificing one of his closer confidantes, Rebekah Brooks, on Friday as the phone-hacking scandal at the UK newspapers she ran engulfed the former editor. His oldest ally, Les Hinton, was also swept up in the political, police and media storm after 12 years running the UK papers. Even James, Murdoch's second son, faces questions over whether his handling of the affair could scupper his chances of succeeding the 80-year-old patriarch.
Yet the affable Carey has emerged strengthened. Insiders disagree over whether Murdoch may split his roles to make him CEO, but as they wonder whether Murdoch's assets and competing heirs can be held together, the answer may depend on Carey.
It is not often that a Chairman and CEO with almost 40 per cent of a company would leave it to a deputy to explain the collapse of such a huge deal. The announcement that News Corp was ending its pursuit of British Sky Broadcasting went out under Carey's name.
News Corp runs like a medieval court, with princes falling in and out of favour and underlings trying to interpret the capricious king's wishes. With succession again in question, Carey may be the Prince Regent. "Chase is the big winner in all of this," says one former adviser, noting that he has "no politics, no baggage". He has not only outlasted other confidants, but has remained untainted by the UK scandal: "I'd keep Chase as far away as possible from this right now. He's the only positive asset you have," this person says.
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