NEW YORK - Rupert Murdoch installed his own leadership team at Dow Jones & Co. yesterday, a week before his acquisition of the company is expected to close. He also tapped his son James as heir apparent to his media empire, News Corp.

Les Hinton, who has spent his career at News Corp.'s newspapers, will become chief executive officer of Dow Jones next week, following a vote of the company's shareholders Dec. 13. Dow Jones is the publisher of the Wall Street Journal. Hinton currently oversees News Corp.'s papers in the United Kingdom, including the Times.

Robert Thomson, editor of the Times, will become publisher of the Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones also owns Dow Jones Newswires, Barron's, and a news database business called Factiva.

Murdoch's takeover of Dow Jones - valued at more than $5 billion - triggered several other executive changes, including the departures of Dow Jones' chief executive, Richard Zannino, Wall Street Journal publisher Gordon Crovitz, and general counsel Joseph Stern.

James Murdoch was appointed to oversee News Corp.'s media businesses in Europe and Asia, which include the U.K. newspaper group and two satellite-TV operators, Sky Italia and the Hong Kong-based Star Group.

The move clearly puts James Murdoch, 34, in line to succeed his father, clearing up lingering questions about who would be next in line after Rupert Murdoch, who is 76.

James Murdoch had been head of the U.K. satellite-TV broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting Group P.L.C., but will relinquish that role. He will also rejoin the board of News Corp., which owns about 38 percent of BSkyB.