Murdoch in the news

He might never give interviews, but Rupert Murdoch is apparently the most high-profile public company figure in the UK, according to a new survey. Now all he needs to do is buy a football club and we’ll never hear the end of him.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

News aggregator Sweet & Maxwell found that Murdoch was cited in over 3000 articles in the year to August. That’s 40% more than last year, and almost twice as much as anyone else on the list

This is partly due to his high-profile and controversial bid to take control of the Wall Street Journal, which prompted much wailing and gnashing of teeth, but it’s also a reflection of the media’s obsession with writing about the media. This sector received more mentions than any other – almost ten times as many as mining, which accounts for nearly 10% of the FTSE 100.

Lord Browne was the second most-cited figure – but unlike M&S’s Stuart Rose and Sainsbury’s Justin King, who also made it into the top ten, the reasons for this are probably not entirely work-related. The whole ‘dog-walking’ scandal may have put paid to his career at BP, but it proved to be classic tabloid fodder.

Another CEO who won’t be pleased to see himself shooting up next year’s rankings is Northern Rock’s Adam Applegarth, who has been mentioned about five times more in the last two months than in the whole of the preceding twelve.

One notable point was that chairmen – with the exception of Murdoch and ITV’s Michael Grade in third – featured much less than chief executives, showing that the latter tend to be the figurehead for their company these days. And there was more grist to the mill of private equity’s critics – not one of them made the top ten, despite their increased public profile.

But all of these corporate bigwigs fell well behind another successful businessman. Roman Abramovich accumulated more than 5,000 mentions, thanks mainly to his high profile ownership of Chelsea.

It’s a pity Murdoch didn’t succeed with his bid for Manchester United a few years ago – then it might have been a much closer-run thing...

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