The board of directors of News Corp. may pressure Rupert Murdoch to step down as its chief executive as the phone-hacking scandal continues to spiral out of control.

According to Bloomberg, directors considered having chief operating officer Chase Carey replace Murdoch, with the latter remaining as chairman.

Carey has served as COO since 2009 and has no connection with the phone-hacking scandal.

Rupert reportedly always wanted his son James to succeed him.

But there are conflicting versions of the board’s attitude.

Independent director Thomas Perkins told the Associated Press that the board did not meet to consider promoting Carey and that Murdoch has the directors’ support.

Indeed, any attempt to remove Rupert Murdoch would likely require his own consent on the support of an overwhelming majority of the board – since the Murdoch family enjoys nearly 40 percent voting rights.

Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch and his son James will face what is expected to be intense and hostile questioning by a committee of British MPs over charges their companies hacked the phones of thousands of people and bribed police officers.

News Corp. shares have plunged almost 20 percent in just the past two and a half weeks, wiping out $1-billion in value.

Moreover, credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s said it may reduce News Corp’s corporate debt rating over “business and reputation risks” raised by the phone-hacking scandal.

“The U.K. legal process has expanded and pressure from U.S. lawmakers has increased for an FBI probe” said S&P in a statement.