It’s not always a simple ride to the top, as Rupert Murdoch’s 38-year-old son James is finding. Widely touted to be News Corp.’s next chief executive, James has been buffeted as much as his father by the phone-hacking scandal that has so far forced them to shut down one profitable newspaper, table a key multibillion-dollar acquisition, and agree to be grilled by Britain’s parliament. If James is able to weather the storm, he will have earned the top job. The Murdoch family has proven especially resilient in the past and may do so again. The question is whether James is a chip off the old block—and whether that will be a good thing in the future.

CEOs have to prove diligence and show results regardless of their last name. It’s not unusual for family-owned businesses to pass along to family members, although at larger companies, the handoff to a family member can become more difficult. Shareholders and other stakeholders, such as employees, are more likely to question whether or not nepotism should help define the future of a company. In many cases, a favorite son or daughter will expand the company. In other cases, they may drive it into the ground.

Some of the largest companies in the world, even those that are publicly traded, sometimes stay in family control. From LG Electronics to Carnival Corp. to Fidelity Investments, meet the CEOs who are members of the lucky gene club.

Click here to see CEOs who were born on third base and thought they hit a triple.
It’s not always a simple ride to the top, as Rupert Murdoch’s 38-year-old son James is finding. Widely touted to be News Corp.’s next chief executive, James has been buffeted as much as his father by the phone-hacking scandal that has so far forced them to shut down one profitable newspaper, table a key multibillion-dollar acquisition, and agree to be grilled by Britain’s parliament. If James is able to weather the storm, he will have earned the top job. The Murdoch family has proven especially resilient in the past and may do so again. The question is whether James is a chip off the old block—and whether that will be a good thing in the future.

CEOs have to prove diligence and show results regardless of their last name. It’s not unusual for family-owned businesses to pass along to family members, although at larger companies, the handoff to a family member can become more difficult. Shareholders and other stakeholders, such as employees, are more likely to question whether or not nepotism should help define the future of a company. In many cases, a favorite son or daughter will expand the company. In other cases, they may drive it into the ground.

Some of the largest companies in the world, even those that are publicly traded, sometimes stay in family control. From LG Electronics to Carnival Corp. to Fidelity Investments, meet the CEOs who are members of the lucky gene club.

Click here to see CEOs who were born on third base and thought they hit a triple.

Twenty CEOs Who Inherited Their Jobs

Nepotism Keeps It in the Family
Nepotism Keeps It in the Family
It’s not always a simple ride to the top, as Rupert Murdoch’s 38-year-old son James is finding. Widely touted to be News Corp.’s next chief executive, James has been buffeted as much as his father by the phone-hacking scandal that has so far forced them to shut down one profitable newspaper, table a key multibillion-dollar acquisition, and agree to be grilled by Britain’s parliament. If James is able to weather the storm, he will have earned the top job. The Murdoch family has proven especially resilient in the past and may do so again. The question is whether James is a chip off the old block—and whether that will be a good thing in the future.

CEOs have to prove diligence and show results regardless of their last name. It’s not unusual for family-owned businesses to pass along to family members, although at larger companies, the handoff to a family member can become more difficult. Shareholders and other stakeholders, such as employees, are more likely to question whether or not nepotism should help define the future of a company. In many cases, a favorite son or daughter will expand the company. In other cases, they may drive it into the ground.

Some of the largest companies in the world, even those that are publicly traded, sometimes stay in family control. From LG Electronics to Carnival Corp. to Fidelity Investments, meet the CEOs who are members of the lucky gene club.

Click here to see CEOs who were born on third base and thought they hit a triple.
Herbert Allen III
Herbert Allen III
Company: Allen & Co.
Founded: 1922 by Herbert’s uncle, Charles Allen

The private banking and consulting firm of Allen & Co. likes to keep it in the family with members of the family at the helm since the founding of the company, in 1922. Herbert Allen III, 42, now oversees relationships with the likes of Hasbro, Disney, ABC, and Seagram. The secretive securities firm hosts a conference each year in Sun Valley that is well known as a major networking event for top executives in the media industry. Photographer: Bloomberg
Micky Arison
Micky Arison
Company: Carnival Corp.
Founded: 1972 by Micky’s father, Ted Arison

Micky Arison, 60, was on the very first Carnival cruise when it ran aground on a sandbar near the Port of Miami. Founded by his father, Ted Arison, Carnival cruises has grown into a behemoth with 85,200 employees, 22 ships, and 3.9 million passengers last year, according to the company. The family riches weren’t just made at sea: Arison’s sister, Shari, inherited the Israeli side of the businesses. Photographer: Bloomberg
Riley Bechtel
Riley Bechtel
Company: Bechtel Group
Founded: 1898 by Riley’s great-grandfather, Warren A. Bechtel

Riley Bechtel’s father, Steve Jr., framed his son’s first paycheck with the company, a mere $18.49 for a week’s work back in 1966. Riley, 59, is now the fourth generation of a company that started in road grading and now stands as a leader in construction. The website of the privately owned company lists 52,700 employees and 2009 revenue of $30.8 billion.
Photographer: Bloomberg
James Dolan
James Dolan
Company: Cablevision
Founded: 1973 by James’s father, Charles Dolan

The board of Cablevision is stacked with family members, including Dolan’s brothers, Thomas and Patrick, and his wife, Kristin. The feuds that often grip family businesses went public in 2005, when James blocked his father’s satellite project and his father essentially tried a hostile takeover of the company he founded. The battle was detailed in a New York Magazine article. Photographer: Getty Images
Steve Forbes
Steve Forbes
Company: Forbes
Founded: 1917 by Steve’s grandfather, B.C. Forbes

Started as the magazine "Devoted to Doers and Doings" on Wall Street, Forbes has been run by three generations of the Forbes family. The most recent Forbes, Malcom Stevenson "Steve" Forbes Jr., 63, ran for President as a Republican candidate in 1996 and 2000. He inherited his job after the death of his father, legendary publisher and showman Malcolm, in 1990. Steve is the editor-in-chief of the magazine and CEO of the publishing company. Photographer: Courtesy of Forbes
Paul E. Jacobs
Paul E. Jacobs
Company: Qualcomm
Founded: 1985 by Paul’s father, Irwin Jacobs

Irwin Jacobs built Qualcomm on high-margin technology patents for technology used by the cellular communications industry. Paul earned a PhD in electrical engineering at Berkeley and eventually went to work for his father’s company. The handover was initially rough on the company, as the stock price was nearly half what it is now. Overall, the price has risen 64 percent in the six years since Paul took over, boosted in the past year by rising mobile chip sales. Photographer: Bloomberg
Edward C. Johnson III
Edward C. Johnson III
Company: Fidelity Investments
Founded: 1946 by Ned’s father, Edward C. Johnson II

A financial powerhouse with more than $1.5 trillion of assets under management, Fidelity is likely nearing the third generation of Johnson control. Ned Johnson, 80, remains the CEO and chairman of the company, but his daughter, Abigail Johnson, 49, is one of the top presidents and is often named as a likely successor. Photographer: Bloomberg
Herbert Fisk Johnson III
Herbert Fisk Johnson III
Company: SC Johnson & Sons
Founded: 1886 by Fisk’s great-great-grandfather, Samuel Curtis Johnson Sr. (Pictured left)

Now led by the fifth generation of Johnsons, the company uses the line of succession as a tagline: "SC Johnson, a Family Company." Samuel Johnson, above in black and white, started the company as a flooring business and launched the first home-care product, a floor wax, after just two years. Although a Johnson hasn't always been at the helm, one is now: Herbert Fisk Johnson III, above in color, took over in 2004. Photography: Courtesy of SC Johnson
Charles G. Koch
Charles G. Koch
Company: Koch Industries
Founded: 1927 by Fred C. Koch

Founder Fred Koch died in 1967 and Charles G. Koch took over at the age of 33. He built the company into an industrial giant in minerals, chemicals, fertilizers, oil and refining, and commodities. Jane Mayer recently detailed funding of Tea Party activities by Charles Koch and his brother, David Koch, who together own the majority of the company, in The New Yorker. Photographer: Bloomberg
Herbert V. Kohler Jr.
Herbert V. Kohler Jr.
Company: Kohler Co.
Founded: 1873 by Herbert’s grandfather, John Michael Kohler

The elder Kohler came from Austria through Ellis Island on his way to a fortune in the iron and plumbing industries. The first product, a cast iron hog scalder, or water trough, was launched in 1883. It wasn’t until later generations of Kohlers that the company became known for producing faucets and other fixtures. The heir apparent is Herbert’s 43-year-old son, K. David Kohler, who holds the positions of president, director, and chief operating officer. Photographer: Getty Images
Koo Bon-Joon
Koo Bon-Joon
Company: LG Electronics
Founded: 1958 by Bon’s grandfather, Koo In-Hwoi

Koo In-Hwoi founded the company as GoldStar and built Korea’s first radios, TVs, and refrigerators, according to the company. Koo Bon-Joon took over as the top executive at LG Electronics last October. Photographer: Getty Images
Richard S. LeFrak
Richard S. LeFrak
Company: LeFrak Organization
Founded: 1901 by Richard’s grandfather, Harry LeFrak

The LeFrak Organization became a New York real estate empire by building affordable housing for the city’s growing middle classes. Founded in 1901 by immigrant Harry LeFrak, the business is currently run by grandson Richard, pictured above with his two sons, Harrison, on the left, who is a principal and vice-chairman, and James, on the right, a principal. Check out a BusinessWeek story about the Lefrak expansion into Los Angeles in 2008. Photographer: Courtesy of LeFrak
J.W. Bill Marriott Jr.
J.W. Bill Marriott Jr.
Company: Marriott International
Founded: 1929 (as Hot Shoppes) by Bill’s father, J. Willard Marriott

A company that started as a nine-stool A&W Root Beer Stand and later called The Hot Shoppe grew into a hotel and food service giant with 618,104 rooms at the end of last year. Bill Marriott, 78, was named president in 1964 and took over from his father as CEO in 1972. Photographer: Bloomberg
Harold W.Terry McGraw III
Harold W.Terry McGraw III
Company: McGraw-Hill
Founded: 1899 by Harold’s great-grandfather, James H. McGraw

James H. McGraw began working in publishing in 1884, formed his own company, and merged with Hill Publishing in 1909 to form McGraw-Hill. McGraw’s grandson, Harold McGraw Jr., was appointed CEO in 1975, and the fourth in the line, Harold McGraw III, became CEO in 1998. (McGraw-Hill is the former owner of Businessweek.com.) Photographer: Bloomberg
Hank Meijer
Hank Meijer
Company: Meijer supermarkets
Founded: 1934 by Hank’s grandparents, Hendrik and Gezina Meijer

Founded in the depths of the Depression, Meijer supermarkets dominate some Midwestern states, with more than 190 stores. The company is now run by the founder’s grandson, Hank Meijer, pictured above, in the middle. The Meijer family turned down opportunities to sell out to the Waltons of Wal-Mart Stores and have also held off going public for decades, according to a profile of the Meijer family last year on mlive.com on the 75th anniversary of the company's founding. Photographer: Getty Images
Rupert Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch
Company: News Corp.
Founded: 1979 by Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch, 80, built the massive news and entertainment company that makes up News Corp. on the foundation of the News Limited company owned by his father, Keith Murdoch. As the New York Times noted in a recent article about News Corp. succession, Murdoch’s son, James, 38, is reputedly being groomed to take over the family business. A recent scandal involving phone hacking at one of Murdoch’s papers in the U.K., the News of the World, has rocked the company. Photographer: Bloomberg
Samuel Irving Si Newhouse Jr.
Samuel Irving Si Newhouse Jr.
Company: Advance Publications
Founded: 1922 by Samuel’s father, Samuel Irving Newhouse Sr.

The Newhouse family oversees the private domain that controls dozens of newspapers across the country, a growing list of popular websites, and Condé Nast Publications, which includes such magazines as Vogue, The New Yorker, Wired, and Vanity Fair. Although a member of the fourth Newhouse generation works at the company, there are few indications that the family's 80-year-old patriarch intends to retire soon, according to a profile in the New York Times. Photographer: Getty Images
Brian L. Roberts
Brian L. Roberts
Company: Comcast
Founded: 1963 by Brian’s father, Ralph J. Roberts

Ralph Roberts, sitting, was part of a three-way partnership that bought into a 1,200-subscriber cable system in Mississippi. That subsequently grew a major media corporation. This year the company closed on a deal that gave Comcast majority ownership of NBC Universal, headed by CEO Stephen Burke, on the right. Brian Roberts, left, was named president in 1990 and later took over as Comcast's chairman and chief executive. Photographer: Courtesy of Comcast
David E. Simon
David E. Simon
Company: Simon Property Group
Founded: 1960 by David’s father, Melvin Simon, and uncles Herbert and Fred Simon

The business was founded by three Simon brothers in the 1960s and built into a real estate empire. Melvin’s son, David, took over as chief executive in 1995. Fred Simon left the company in 1983, but Melvin and Herbert remained co-chairmen until 2007. The company reports 393 properties with a total of 264 million leasable square feet around the world. Photographer: Bloomberg
Andrew Taylor
Andrew Taylor
Company: Enterprise Rent-A-Car
Founded: 1957 by Andrew’s father, Jack C. Taylor

The company was started with just seven vehicles in St. Louis, Mo., as the Executive Leasing Co. Andrew Taylor took over as CEO of his father’s company in 1991 and continued its expansion. In 2007, Enterprise acquired Alamo Rent A Car and National Car Rental. Andrew’s sister, Jo Ann Taylor Kindle, is president of the Enterprise Holdings Foundation, a charitable arm that has contributed more than $200 million since 1982. Photographer: Bloomberg