At the end of an investor conference designed to shed light on the financial future of Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox, the 82-year-old media baron was asked how long he planned to stick around as chief executive officer.
Needham & Co. senior media analyst Laura Martin asked Murdoch whether he would reveal his corporate succession plan.
"No," Murdoch said, adding, "That will be a matter for the directors of the company. ...The board knows [the succession plan], and they are pretty happy."
In 2011, Murdoch signaled to Wall Street that his second-in-command -- Chase Carey, the chief operating officer -- would likely succeed him if Murdoch were unable to continue as chairman and chief executive of the global media company.
Before that 2011 disclosure, James Murdoch, the mogul's youngest son, was seen as the likely candidate for CEO should Rupert Murdoch step aside.
But James Murdoch's path to the top hit a detour after his reputation took a beating because of his handling of the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World tabloid in London. At the time, he was in charge of News Corp.'s British media unit.
James Murdoch, 40, continues in a senior position at 21st Century Fox. He is deputy chief operating officer, based in New York, specializing in the company's foreign TV businesses.
And on Thursday, James Murdoch was one of just four senior Fox executives to take the stage to field questions at the end of six hours of presentations by Fox division heads. Murdoch's presence on stage led some in the audience to observe that the younger Murdoch should not be counted out as a candidate for the top job.
James Murdoch sat beside Carey in the center of the stage, flanked by the company's new chief financial officer, John Nallen, and Rupert Murdoch.
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