Murdoch's son given top job at Sky Italia

James Murdoch is replacing his father Rupert Murdoch as president of Sky Italia, a Daily Variety report said.

The report said the Italo paybox service launched five years ago as News Corp.'s biggest pay TV push in continental Europe.

The appointment of Murdoch, 35, comes just six months after he took the reins of News Corp.'s Asian and European operations and caps moves indicating he is the global media empire's heir apparent.

Previously he topped Blighty satcaster BSkyB.

Milan-based Sky Italia, the country's only satellite pay TV operator, is effectively managed by CEO Tom Mockridge.

Sky Italia has seen a steady growth in subscribers now at 4.5 million and profitability, as of fiscal 2006.

Milan is becoming the center of operations of News Corp.'s continental European expansion, which includes interests in Bulgaria, Poland and Turkey.