It's not always a simple ride to the top, as Rupert Murdoch's 38-year-old son James is discovering.

Widely touted as the next chief executive at News Corp. (NWSA, news), James has been buffeted as much as his father by the ongoing phone-hacking and police-bribery scandal that has forced the Murdochs to shut down a profitable newspaper, table a key multibillion-dollar acquisition and agree to be grilled by Britain's Parliament.

If James weathers the storm, he will have earned the top job.

CEOs have to prove diligence and show results regardless of surname.It's not unusual for a family-owned business to be passed along to a family member, although at larger companies, such handoffs can become more difficult. Shareholders and other stakeholders, such as employees, are more likely to question whether nepotism should help define the future of a company.

In many cases, a favorite son or daughter expands the company. In others, he or she may drive it into the ground.

Here are snapshots of 10 chief executives who, by virtue of their last names, were born on third base.

Micky Arison

Company: Carnival

Founded: 1972 by Ted Arison, Micky's father

Micky Arison, 62, was on the very first Carnival cruise when it ran aground on a sandbar near the Port of Miami. Founded by his father, Ted Arison, Carnival (CCL, news) has grown into a behemoth, boasting 85,200 employees, 22 cruise ships and 3.9 million passengers in 2010, according to company data.

The family riches weren't made just at sea: Ted Arison's sister, Shari, is Israel's richest woman, thanks to the financial and construction empire built by her father in his native country.

James Dolan

Company: Cablevision

Founded: 1973 by Charles Dolan, James' father

The board of Cablevision Systems (CVC, news) is stacked with family members, including James Dolan's brothers, Thomas and Patrick, and his wife, Kristin. The feuds that often grip the family businesses -- which include sports franchises and Madison Square Garden -- went public in 2005, when James blocked his father's satellite project and his father essentially tried a hostile takeover of the company he founded.

Steve Forbes

Company: Forbes

Founded: 1917 by B.C. Forbes, Steve's grandfather

Started as the magazine "Devoted to Doers and Doings" on Wall Street, Forbes has been run by three generations of the Forbes family. The most recent Forbes, Malcolm Stevenson "Steve" Forbes Jr., 64, ran for U.S. president as a Republican candidate in 1996 and 2000, failing to get the party's nomination both times.

He inherited his job after the death of his father, legendary publisher and showman Malcolm, in 1990. Steve is the editor-in-chief of the magazine and the chief executive of the publishing company.

Edward C. Johnson III

Company: Fidelity Investments

Founded: 1946 by Edward C. Johnson II, Ned's father

A financial powerhouse with more than $1.5 trillion of assets under management, Fidelity is likely nearing the third generation of Johnson control.

Ned Johnson, 80, remains the company's chairman and chief executive, but his daughter, Abigail Johnson, 49, is one of the top presidents and is considered a likely successor.