News Corp. digital czar Jon Miller to exit

Will leave at end of September, serve as outside adviser

News Corp.’s upcoming split has claimed its first casualty as the company said Thursday that digital chief Jonathan Miller will step down at the end of September.

Miller will serve as an outside adviser to the company on digital issues through fall 2013.

Exec had been with the conglom since 2009, overseeing the company’s digital strategy and a number of key U.S. and overseas film investments. Those included high-profile purchases in Roku and China’s Bona Film Group.

Miller also represented News Corp. on the Hulu board of directors. As Variety reported earlier this week, Hulu has been quietly discussing strategies through which parent companies News Corp. and Disney can transform the streaming service.

When Miller joined News Corp., one of his main responsibilities was to figure out a way to transform MySpace, the social-networking site News Corp. had acquired for $580 million in 2005. Last year, it sold the social-media site to Specific Media for just $35 million.

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“Jon Miller is a visionary in the digital media industry, and his commitment to News Corporation over the last three years has driven us to truly evolve the way millions of people use new platforms to consume news and entertainment,” News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch said in a statement. “As we prepare for our proposed company separation, I respect Jon’s desire to return to an operational, entrepreneurial role with a stand-alone company. He will be missed, and I can’t thank him enough for his efforts and many valued contributions.”

Last month, News Corp.’s board approved a plan to split the company’s entertainment and publishing divisions into two publicly traded entities.

Miller’s career in TV and digital has included top posts at AOL, USA Networks, Nickelodeon, Paramount and the NBA.