Murdoch on Fortune 'People to Watch in 2003' list

MUMBAI:Rupert Murdoch is one of the key names from media in Fortune magazine's fourth annual list of 'People to Watch in 2003'.

The 71-year-old chairman and CEO of News Corp makes the list because it just may happen that 2003 is the year that Murdoch finally completes a two-decade old dream of having a US satellite TV service to complement his foreign operations.

Murdoch and Liberty Media boss John Malone are negotiating to buy the US industry's leading player, DirecTV, by taking General Motor's 30 per cent stake in Hughes Electronics, according to Fortune.

Of course there is still DirecTV's rival EchoStar. After having seen its bid to buy the satellite TV provider scuppered by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last year, EchoStar is itself feeling jittery.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that EchoStar chairman Charles Egan had been discussing the possible sale of the company to News Corp. or Liberty Media.

Other big media names on the Fortune list are America Online chairman and CEO Jonathan Miller, Walt Disney subsidiary ABC Entertainment president Susan Lyne, and Sony Music Entertainment chairman and CEO Andrew Lack.

When AOL Time Warner chairman Steve Case steps down in May, it will be a fight for survival for AOL head Miller. With millions of disgruntled shareholders blaming his business for the whole company's woes, Miller will have one clear mandate - turn ailing America Online around, or else...

ABC's Lyne is on much firmer ground though. 52-year-old Lynne stopped the network's bleeding last year. Now she has to pull money-losing ABC into the black.

Andrew Lack, former president of NBC, who has just replaced the high-profile Tommy Mottola as Sony's top music executive, has no music experience. But he is expected to come up with some innovative ways to boost revenues at a time when global music sales are declining. If he can manage that, it will certainly be sweet music to the top bosses at Sony.

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