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SYDNEY-Media billionaire Kerry Packer's relatively unknown nephew, Francis Packer, has become director of marketing services at Nine Network, surprising the industry.

Francis Packer, 32, is the son of Kerry's brother Clyde, who left Sydney more than 20 years ago to live in California.

Francis Packer has spent most of his life in the U.S. and controlled a small high technology marketing consultancy in San Francisco before his uncle invited him to join Nine Network a year ago as VP-development, working on planned expansion into Asia. He is fluent in several Asian languages.

Francis Packer's appointment to the new post suggests he has been tagged to follow the rapid rise of cousin James, 27, Kerry Packer's son, in Mr. Packer's Consolidated Press Holdings. The company is also Australia's major magazine publisher.

James Packer, now a director in the magazine division, is being groomed to step into his father's shoes.

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