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Elisabeth Murdoch (businesswoman)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Elisabeth Murdoch
Nordiske Mediedager 2010 - Thursday - NMD 2010 (4583813556) (cropped).jpg
Murdoch in 2010
Born (1968-08-22) 22 August 1968 (age 54)
United Kingdom
United States
EducationVassar College (BA)
Occupation(s)Journalist, media executive
Elkin Kwesi Pianim
(m. 1993; div. 1998)
(m. 2001; div. 2014)
(m. 2017)

Elisabeth Murdoch CBE (born 22 August 1968) is an Australian-born British and American media executive based in the United Kingdom.[1] She was a non-executive chairperson of Shine Group, the UK-based TV programme production company she founded in 2001, until the company's parent 21st Century Fox merged its Shine division with ApolloGlobal Management's Endemol and Core Media production houses, specializing in reality TV, in 2015.[2]

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Early life

Elisabeth Murdoch (junior) was born on 22 August 1968 in Sydney. Her father is media tycoon Rupert Murdoch (born 1931), and her mother is his ex-wife, journalist and author Anna Maria dePeyster (née Torv; born 1944). Elisabeth Murdoch was named after her grandmother, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch (senior) (1909–2012). She completed her secondary education at the Brearley School in New York City and graduated with a bachelor's degree from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York.[3]


Murdoch began her career as a manager of programme acquisitions at her father's FX Networks, a cable television unit based in Los Angeles. Operating as EP Communications, on 22 September 1994 Murdoch and her then-husband, Elkin Kwesi Pianim, purchased a pair of NBC-affiliate television stations, KSBW and KSBY, in California on a US$35 million loan secured by her father.[4]

Murdoch moved with Pianim to the United Kingdom where Rupert Murdoch was running BSkyB. The early years of BSkyB saw a haemorrhage[clarification needed] of cash from Murdoch's News Corporation funds. To help turn around the financial fortunes of the company, New Zealand television executive Sam Chisholm was brought on board to manage the day-to-day operations and build the subscriber base, with Elisabeth Murdoch as his second-in-command and de facto apprentice. By the time Chisholm left the company, BSkyB was the most profitable company in the United Kingdom. As managing director, Elisabeth oversaw BSkyB's £12 million sponsorship of the troubled Millennium Dome, to the relief of its Cabinet overseer, Peter Mandelson. However, she also faced criticism after brokering her father's failed £623.4 million bid for England's champion Manchester United team.[5]

After quarrelling publicly with Chisholm, she ventured out on her own as a television and film producer in London. She advocated Sky setting up a film and production unit similar to BBC Films and Film4 Productions. However, due to lack of success, this unit closed down. She founded Shine Limited in March 2001, with 80 percent ownership retained by herself, 15 percent by Lord Alli, and five percent by BSkyB. BSkyB signed a deal guaranteeing to buy an agreed amount of Shine programming for two years.

In 2011, Shine was acquired by News Corporation in a controversial deal that raised questions about nepotism.[6]

In February 2013, Murdoch was assessed as the fifth most powerful woman in the United Kingdom by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4.[7]

In 2018, Murdoch produced a dating reality show called Phone Swap, that was originally aired on Snapchat.[8]

Murdoch has served on many organizational boards including Afiniti.[9] She is now Executive Chairman of the global TV and film production and development company, Sister, which is headquartered in London with offices in Los Angeles.[10] She set up her production company Sister in 2019.[11] Her Sister production company had a deal with Chris Goldberg and his Winterlight Pictures company.[12] She most recently had a deal with actor Jeremy Strong.[13]

Murdoch was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2022 Birthday Honours for services to diversity in the arts and to charity.[14]

Personal life

Murdoch's first marriage was to a fellow Vassar graduate, Elkin Kwesi Pianim, an associate in the New York corporate finance department of the Rothschild investment bank. He is the son of Ghananian-born economist and financier Kwame Pianim and Dutch-born Cornelia Pianim. The wedding was held on 10 September 1993 at St. Timothy Catholic Church near the Beverly Hills residence of the bride's parents.[15][16] They have two children, Cornelia Pianim (born 1994 in New York) and Anna Pianim (born 1997 in London). They were divorced in 1998.

Murdoch's second marriage was to public relations executive Matthew Freud, the son of former MP Sir Clement Freud and great-grandson of Sigmund Freud. The couple married on 18 August 2001 in a ceremony at Blenheim Palace. The couple had two children.[17] From 2008, the family resided at Burford Priory in Oxfordshire, where they were key members of the Chipping Norton set.[18] They also owned a home in Notting Hill, London. The couple divorced in 2014.[19]

In 2017, Murdoch married artist Keith Tyson.[20]

Murdoch is a dual national of the United States and the United Kingdom.[1] She currently resides in the St John's Wood neighbourhood of London.[21]


  1. ^ a b Luo, Michael. "Murdoch's Daughter Hosts Obama Fund-Raiser". The Caucus. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  2. ^ "Elisabeth Murdoch set to quit television production company Shine Group", Chris Johnston, The Guardian, London, 1 October 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  3. ^ Ken Auletta (3 December 2012). "The Heiress". The New Yorker. Retrieved 1 February 2022.
  4. ^ David Hay (3 June 1994). "Murdoch's Daughter". Financial Review. Retrieved 1 February 2022.
  5. ^ Folkenflik, David (2013). Murdoch's World: The Last of the Old Media Empires. PublicAffairs. p. 144. ISBN 978-1-610-39089-7.
  6. ^ Elisabeth Murdoch lands £153m from Shine buyout, Dan Sabbagh, The Guardian, 5 April 2011
  7. ^ BBC Radio 4, Woman's Hour, The Power List 2013, at the Wayback Machine (archived January 16, 2014)
  8. ^ "05/08/18: Snapchat's Phone Swap gets a call from Fox TV Stations". Cynopsis Media. 8 May 2018. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
  9. ^ Cook, James; Dodds, Laurence (2 November 2019). "Inside the mysterious world of AI firm Afiniti which boasts David Cameron and Princess Beatrice as recruits". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  10. ^ Elisabeth Murdoch, Jane Featherstone and Stacey Snider form Sister,, October 1, 2019
  11. ^ "Elisabeth Murdoch funds film school that says no to nepotism". The Guardian. 28 February 2021. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  12. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (29 July 2021). "Sister Inks First-Look Deal With Chris Goldberg's Winterlight Pictures". Deadline. Retrieved 31 July 2021.
  13. ^ White, Peter (9 November 2021). "Jeremy Strong To Star In & Produce 9/11 Responders Drama From Tobias Lindholm & Sister As Part Of First-Look Deal With 'A War' Director". Deadline. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  14. ^ "No. 63714". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 June 2022. p. B10.
  15. ^ Engagements; Elisabeth Murdoch, Elkin K. Pianim, The New York Times, 24 January 1993
  16. ^ Weddings; Elisabeth Murdoch and Elkin Pianim, The New York Times, 12 September 1993
  17. ^ Sweney, Mark (6 October 2014). "Matthew Freud and Elisabeth Murdoch to divorce". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 September 2020.
  18. ^ Caroline Dewar (5 March 2012). "Who's who in the Chipping Norton set". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  19. ^ Gosden, Emily (5 October 2014). "Elisabeth Murdoch and Matthew Freud to divorce". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
  20. ^ Sherwin, Adam (9 February 2020). "Elisabeth Murdoch surprise contender to become new BBC Director-General". i. Retrieved 24 September 2020.
  21. ^ "Rupert Murdoch's daughter buys home in St John's Wood for £38.5m". Evening Standard. Retrieved 18 August 2018.

External links

This page was last edited on 17 March 2023, at 18:56
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