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News Corp.'s Entertainment Business to Be Called Fox Group After Company Split

News Corp generic image - H 2012
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Dow Jones editor-in-chief Robert Thomson will become the CEO of the new publishing company, while Chase Carey's and James Murdoch's roles at Fox Group will remain unchanged.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. said Monday that its entertainment company after a planned split will be called Fox Group. Its publishing company will retain the name News Corp.

It also confirmed that Dow Jones editor-in-chief and managing editor of The Wall Street Journal Robert Thomson will become the CEO of the new publishing entity.

Murdoch will serve as chairman of the new News Corp. and chairman and CEO of Fox Group. Chase Carey will serve as president and COO of Fox Group, with James Murdoch continuing in his capacity as deputy COO.

“This is an incredibly exciting time, for me personally, and for our companies’ ambitious futures,” said News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch. “The challenges we face in the publishing and media industries are great, but the opportunities are greater.”

He added: “At Fox Group, what began with the acquisition of a modest film studio over 25 years ago 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. Fox Group is perfectly positioned to deliver even more inspiring stories that engage audiences through film, television, sports and digital platforms, driving not only financial results but a lasting imprint on the millions of people who enjoy our various services, in every corner of the world.”

News Corp. also said that Bedi Ajay Singh, most recently CFO for MGM Studios, will assume the role of CFO at the publishing company. He was previously CFO at Gemstar-TV Guide and Sony Pictures Entertainment.

And Gerard Baker, currently deputy editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal, will succeed Thomson as editor-in-chief of Dow Jones and managing editor of the Journal, effective Jan. 1. Before joining Dow Jones, Baker was the U.S. editor and an assistant editor of the Times of London.

Said Thomson: “Gerry has had a distinguished career that included a stint at the Bank of England and a celebrated journalistic past at the BBC, the Financial Times and The Times,  and I expect him to have an even more successful future...His international experience and his background in broadcasting will both be crucial editorial assets as the Journal and Newswires continue their ambitious global and digital expansion.”

In a staff memo on Monday, Rupert Murdoch discussed the planned split into two companies. "Many of you know that a belief in the power of the written word has been in my bones for my entire life. It began as I listened to my father’s stories from his days as a war correspondent and, later, a successful publisher," the media mogul wrote. "It deepened when, starting in grammar school, I rolled up my sleeves and worked alongside fellow students to publish school journals."

Murdoch said that "I witnessed the hunger people had for well-written, thoroughly observed stories...stories that provide not just information, but insight. That hunger is alive and well today; my personal mission is to serve and satisfy the human need for insight as well as I possibly can."
 
About the entertainment business, Murdoch wrote: "Storytelling of a different kind has also empowered us to fuel the human spirit and enlighten the lives of millions of people through our film, TV and sports properties. We began more than 25 years ago with the acquisition of a modest but promising film studio and bucked conventional wisdom at every opportunity on our way to creating the world’s most successful media and entertainment portfolio."
  
The mogul also argued that the secret of News Corp.'s success is its staff. "While we will face challenges at both companies going forward, together, we have already achieved the seemingly impossible," he said. "Change always breeds uncertainty, but let me be very clear about one thing that is certain: We aren’t finished achieving what others deem impossible. Not even close. And the best news of all...We’re just getting started."

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai