James Murdoch Might Have to Take a Time-Out

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BSkyB Chairman James Murdoch, who is also head of News Corp in Europe and Asia, rehearses for his James MacTaggert Memorial lecture as part of the Media Guardian Edinburgh International TV Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland  August 28, 2009. REUTERS/David Moir (BRITAIN MEDIA SOCIETY BUSINESS)
BSkyB Chairman James Murdoch, who is also head of News Corp in Europe and Asia, rehearses for his James MacTaggert Memorial lecture as part of the Media Guardian Edinburgh International TV Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland August 28, 2009. REUTERS/David Moir (BRITAIN MEDIA SOCIETY BUSINESS) Photo: ? David Moir / Reuters

Although News Corp. denies the report, executives at the company told Reuters that they're planning for Murdoch to step down from his job as the head of News International. But they're not framing it as a permanent resignation; Murdoch would be taking a "breather." "There needs to be some kind of separation for James from this issue before he can run the company more broadly," said one source.

Today's story comes on the heels of last week's conference call in which Rupert Murdoch said that, at least for the present, deputy chairman Chase Carey would take the reins. But Murdoch père left the door open for James, who is set to relocate to New York in early 2012. Taking time away from the company as the scandal continues to unfold could be step one of an image-rehabilitation process that might bring James back in line for the throne, though maybe that wouldn't be necessary: Reuters reports that the company insists the younger Murdoch will both stay at his job and remain the "long-term" front-runner to follow Rupert.

"There's only one decision maker, of course, and he is often willing to hold his course against public opinion," another source told the news service. God? Simon Cowell?

News Corp executives mull chance James Murdoch may leave [Reuters]