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Last Updated: Sunday, 12 October, 2003, 12:59 GMT 13:59 UK
Murdoch son 'to sit job test'
James Murdoch
James Murdoch's rebel days are behind him
James Murdoch, son of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, will reportedly have to sit psychometric tests to find out if he is fit to head satellite broadcaster BSkyB.

The job of chief executive of BSkyB became vacant when Tony Ball announced last month he plans to step down after more than four years at the helm.

James Murdoch, 31, is widely tipped to succeed him, though his youth and lack of experience is thought to be raising eyebrows among BSkyB's institutional shareholders.

"All the candidates will sit a psychometric test, including James," the Sunday Telegraph quoted an executive close to BSkyB as saying.


Rupert Murdoch is chairman of BSkyB, which is 35.4% owned by News Corporation, the flagship firm in his global media empire.

Anxious to ensure a credible appointment process, BSkyB's independent directors have hired head-hunters Spencer Stuart to find a successor to Mr Ball.

They have reportedly been advised by lawyers that Rupert Murdoch and other News Corp appointees to BSkyB's board should not be able to vote on James Murdoch's application.

James Murdoch sits on BSkyB's board and previously ran Hong Kong-based Asian satellite TV station Star.

If he becomes BSkyB's CEO, he will be the youngest-ever boss of a FTSE 100 company.

Three other BSkyB executives are thought to have applied and Spencer Stuart is sifting external candidates, the newspaper reported.

The three internal candidates are finance director Martin Stewart, chief operating officer Richard Freudenstein, and marketing director Jon Florsheim.

Psychometric tests are increasingly popular among top companies to weed out unsuitable applicants. They test temperament and ability by focusing on problem solving skills.

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