When Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a member of the Saudi Arabian royal family, publicly backed James Murdoch to succeed his father at News Corp's helm last month, it once again sparked a flurry of media coverage. But who are going to be the most influential next gens?
When the Saudi royal family backs you, you know you have serious clout. James Murdoch, 36, is edging ever closer to filling father Rupert's shoes at $30 billion media giant News Corp. He has been moving up the slippery ladder in the last couple of years and is now chairman and CEO of News Corp's Europe and Asia division. He also serves as a non-executive director at pharmaceuticals firm Glaxo Smith Klein. Perhaps 2010 will be his year.
Karl-Johan Persson became one of the youngest CEOs of a global brand when, aged just 33, the third-generation family member took over major high street fashion brand Hennes & Mauritz last year. The business, established in 1947 in Sweden, has revenues of $16 billion and is sure to set the pace again this year.
Jane Lauder, 36, is the granddaughter of cosmetics queen Estee Lauder and recently took over from her father Ronald on the board of directors of the $7.32 billion company. She stepped up from her role as senior vice president/general manager of the company's Origin brand and has a crucial role as a family representative now that non-family CEO Fabrizio Freda runs the business.
John Elkann is the sixth-generation vice-chairman and controlling shareholder of Italian car manufacturer Fiat. The 32-year-old is also chairman of Exor, the Agnelli family's €6 billion investment company which controls Cushman & Wakefield and Juventus FC amongst others. Following Italy's tax amnesty last year, he has had an important role to play in safeguarding the dynasty's wealth.
Maisy Ho, 41, is the youngest of three daughters of Stanley "The King of Gambling" Ho, group executive chairman Shun Tak Group. Maisy is executive director and also head of strategic planning and operations at the transportation, property, hospitality and investments conglomerate. Established in 1972, Shun Tak has a turnover of $560 million.
Geoffrey Molson, 38, is the seventh-generation vice president of marketing at North American brewers Molson Coors. He succeeded his father, who retired from the business after 50 years, on the board of directors and headed the bid to acquire an 80% share in ice hockey team Montreal Canadiens for $550 million. His brother Andrew is vice chairman of the $3.6 billion firm, and was also part of the investors group, along with brother Justin, in the ice hockey team acquisition.
Aditya Mittal is the son of steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal and heir to the family's $124 billion empire. Not content to simply inherit the business, Aditya was instrumental in growing the Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal when he served as head of mergers and acquisitions. The 32-year-old is now chief financial officer and in 2008 was awarded European Business Leader of the Future by CNBC Europe.