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BSkyB faces exec structure shake-up

West's exit signals personnel, departmental changes

LONDON — British Sky Broadcasting is poised to shake up its executive structure, which could bring the reintegration of the satcaster’s distribution and programming divisions. The restructuring follows the departure of Ian West, managing director for Sky Entertainment, who stepped down Wednesday after reportedly clashing with Tony Ball, BSkyB’s new chief exec.

West, who worked for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.-run BSkyB for 10 years, oversaw the company’s shift into digital, including distribution and channel carriage deals.

One candidate for promotion is Sky Networks managing director Elisabeth Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s daughter, who as head of programming, was opposite West. Much interest will center on whether the Murdoch family member moves up in the reshuffle.

Potential overhaul

One insider said the changes at BSkyB would involve “a number of individuals,” but declined to give details.

Ball is keen to accelerate the satcaster’s conversion to digital in order to outdistance ONdigital, BSkyB’s terrestrial rival, and soon-to-launch digital cable. He is looking for an exec to head up new media and interactivity for BSkyB, someone who likely will be hired from outside the company.

The 35-year-old West will be retained by BSkyB as a consultant for six months, during which time he cannot take a job with a competitor.

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