News Corp. is shuttering its ambitious iPad newspaper the Daily after two years as it cleans house ahead of its split into two entities, the media and showbiz-centric Fox Group and the publishing-driven unit that will retain the News Corp. moniker.
The decision to end publication of the Daily as of Dec. 15 set off an exec shuffle as the paper’s founding editor, Jesse Angelo, has become publisher of the New York Post.
The Daily’s “technology and other assets, including some staff,” will be folded into the Post, said News Corp. chairman-CEO Rupert Murdoch.
Monday’s unveiling of the management changes sent a clear message about James Murdoch’s prominence on the Fox Group side. He’ll serve as deputy chief operating officer under prexy-COO Chase Carey. News Corp. said Fox Group would continue to “strengthen its creative content businesses and distribution assets, including enhancing its sports portfolio through key investments in Asia, Europe and Latin America” — areas where James Murdoch has experience, having previously overseen much of News Corp.’s international operations.
Rupert Murdoch will remain chairman-CEO of Fox Group and chairman of the publishing group once the split is completed next summer. Wall Street Journal managing editor and Dow Jones editor-in-chief Robert Thomson will serve as CEO of the publishing arm.
“This is an incredibly exciting time for me personally and for our companies’ ambitious futures,” Murdoch said. “The challenges we face in the publishing and media industries are great, but the opportunities are greater.”
Murdoch called Thomson “a person of unmatched integrity” — an important quality given the scandal in the U.K. that has rocked the company for the past two years and tarnished James Murdoch’s reputation as a corporate manager.
In announcing the closure of the Daily, which debuted in February 2011, Rupert Murdoch called it “a bold experiment in digital publishing and an amazing vehicle for innovation” but acknowledged “we could not find a large enough audience quickly enough to convince us the business model was sustainable in the long term.”
With Angelo’s ascent, former Post publisher Paul Carlucci shifts to chairman of News America Marketing. The Daily’s publisher, Greg Clayman, also moves to that unit, overseeing global digital strategy, investments and distribution partnerships.
The Fox Group name is a nod to “what began with the acquisition of a modest film studio over 25 years ago (and) has grown into one of the world’s most successful media companies of all times, defying conventional wisdom at every turn by pursuing excellence in creativity and innovation,” Rupert Murdoch said.
The publishing half sticks with News Corp. “in keeping with the company’s 60-year heritage of bringing news to the world,” he added.
At the Wall Street Journal, Thomson will be succeeded by deputy editor-in-chief Gerard Baker. Baker was previously U.S. editor of the Times of London. He also worked for the Financial Times in Tokyo and Washington, D.C. He began his career as a news producer and correspondent at the BBC.
Former MGM Studios chief financial officer Bedi Ajay Singh was named News Corp.’s CFO. Paul Cheesbrough will be chief technology officer, the same role he currently holds at News Corp.
Current general counsel Gerson Zweifach will serve as the top lawyer to both the Fox Group and News Corp.
Change is also afoot in the U.K. News Corp. appointed Mike Darcey, currently COO of U.K. satcaster BSkyB, as the CEO of News Intl., which runs Murdoch’s newspapers in Blighty. He replaces Tom Mockridge, who ankled over the weekend. Darcy joined BSkyB in 1998 and has played a key role in the rise of the paybox in Blighty.