There was a time when being in line to inherit your father's media empire was about the best job in the world. You could spend your time at glamorous parties, on your yacht or skiing in Colorado in the knowledge that the advertising revenue from your TV stations and magazines will just keep rolling in.
Those days are long gone, however, as Ryan Stokes would know.
Stokes is the latest media baron heir to take over his father's business.
He follows in the footsteps of James Packer, who assumed control of the family TV and magazine empire when his father Kerry died, and Lachlan Murdoch, who in the last couple of years has emerged as the most likely among his siblings to take over his father Rupert's empire after being appointed co-chairman of News Corp.
Stokes will take over as chief executive of Kerry Stokes' Seven Group Holdings in August, when his father's lieutenant Don Voelte retires.
Seven Group Holdings is a diversified business built from the ground up by Kerry Stokes over the past half century. It owns the Seven Network TV station and a major magazine publisher, with titles including New Idea, Who and Better Homes and Gardens.
Media interests aside, it owns mining interests and the rights to sell Caterpillar earth-moving equipment in Australia and China - a very valuable right that drove profits during the mining boom.
Ryan Stokes, 38, has long been groomed for the top job. Just as Rupert Murdoch and Kerry Packer put their sons to work in their empires at an early age, so too has Ryan Stokes been immersed in the business.
His elevation isn't surprising, but the timing is earlier than the market had expected. Seven shares fell 5.6 per cent to $6.91 on the day of the announcement.
However well prepared Stokes might be for his new role, there's no denying he was appointed because his father controls about 70 per cent of the company. His decisions will be subject to intense scrutiny, not just from share market investors but from the wider gossip-loving public.
James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch both know from hard-won experience how difficult this can be.
The pair sat on the board of ill-fated telco One.Tel losing A$1 billion of their families' money when the business collapsed in 2001.
To add to the indignity, last year they paid A$40 million to settle legal action by One.Tel creditors over the company's collapse.
Stokes steps into the business as the internet continues to play havoc with the print media sector's profitability and as streaming services such as Netflix start eating into TV networks' market share.
The company is also taking a punt on the oil and gas sector, planning a spree of acquisitions in the expectation that global demand will bounce back.
This is why the timing of Stokes' elevation to the top job is a little curious. In Volte, Stokes is replacing a well-regarded and very experienced energy executive. Before Stokes senior lured him to Seven, the Nebraska native was chief executive of Australia's Woodside Petroleum.
But we don't need to feel too much sympathy for the young media heir. He's been handed an opportunity that would be nothing more than a dream for any other 38-year-old.
The pain spreads
Last week might well be remembered as the week the mining downturn really took hold.
The government forecast the iron ore price would drop to a disastrous US$35 ($45) a tonne. And mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, which had both looked impregnable, were put on negative credit watch by ratings agency Standard & Poor's.
The plight of listed trucking company McAleese Group is just one small example of how the end of the mining boom is reverberating across the broader economy.
McAleese is now fighting for its survival after its biggest customer shut down its West Australian iron ore mines.
Pilbara iron ore miner Atlas mothballed its mines about 10 days ago because it simply couldn't afford to keep them open. With the price of iron ore below US$50 a tonne, Atlas was said to be losing about A$13 on every tonne of iron ore it dug out of the ground.
When Atlas shut its mines down, McAleese was left without a customer providing about half of its underlying earnings, around $45 million a year in gross profit.
Its huge trucks, which each hauled four enormous trailers full of iron ore to the port for export, will soon sit idle once Atlas completes the closure of its mines in the Pilbara.
There is a host of other contractors who have also been hit by the Atlas decision, which will lead to hundreds of job losses.
Investors are taking a hit, too.
McAleese's shares last traded at 16c each, down from A$1.47 when they debuted on the stock market just 18 months ago.
McAleese is just one supplier to just one miner.
As the downturn bites, it's a scenario we'll see repeated in the coming months.