DirecTV Group Inc Chief Executive Chase Carey might return to News Corp to succeed the media conglomerate's departing No. 2 executive, Peter Chernin, several news outlets reported on Sunday.

Carey, a longtime News Corp executive who left in 2002, would become vice chairman and work under Chairman and Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch, according to Sharon Waxman's blog, The Wrap.

He would replace Peter Chernin, News Corp's president and chief operating officer, who is leaving in June.

Murdoch has said previously that News Corp would not replace Chernin. In recent months, Murdoch has reorganized executive ranks at the company's Fox Television and film studios and at its interactive operations, including the MySpace online social network.

News Corp and DirecTV officials declined to comment.

If Carey returned to News Corp, he would bring a knowledge of the business and a reputation as a seasoned, skilled executive. Some analysts worried that Chernin's departure would leave News Corp without a strong co-pilot adept at navigating the company through Wall Street.

Still unanswered is the ultimate question of succession at News Corp once Murdoch. Many media watchers say his son James eventually will take over.

Carey's contract at DirecTV expires at the end of 2010, making it unclear how easily he could return to News Corp.

Carey held several executive positions at News Corp until 2002 and served on the company's board.

News Corp controlled DirecTV until last year when it swapped its DirecTV stake for a minority stake in News Corp held by cable TV pioneer John Malone's Liberty Media Corp


Any move by Carey could be held up by a complicated plan by Liberty to combine DirecTV, the No.1 U.S. satellite TV service, with some of its other media assets. Liberty has a controlling stake in DirecTV.

Liberty Media said last month it plans for Carey to remain as CEO of the new, larger DirecTV Group when the transaction closes at the end of the year.

A Liberty spokeswoman declined to comment.

In afternoon trading, News Corp shares were up 4.91 percent at $10.26 on the Nasdaq stock market. DirecTV shares rose 48 cents, or 2.13 percent, to $22.98 on the Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Robert MacMillan and Yinka Adegoke; Editing by Andre Grenon)