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NEW YORK – News Corp. made things official on Monday, saying that it has appointed Gerson Zweifach as its new group general counsel, effective Feb. 1.
The 58-year-old, who has served as a partner at Washington law firm Williams & Connolly, will also become a senior executive vp of the company and will report to chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch.
The new general counsel is likely to become a key player in News Corp.’s handling of the phone hacking scandal. Williams & Connolly was part of a legal team that News Corp. hired over the summer amid mounting allegations in the phone hacking case.
Long-time general counsel Lawrence “Lon” Jacobs left in June to pursue other opportunities. Janet Nova, who will stay at the company, handled legal issues as interim general counsel over the past six months.
The News Corp.-owned Wall Street Journal late last year had reported that Zweifach was close to being appointed as the conglomerate’s lead legal expert.
In his more than three decades at Williams & Connolly, Zweifach’s litigation practice has covered media and first amendment cases, as well as patent, antitrust and securities matters. Among others, he represented former New York Stock Exchange boss Richard Grasso in the case Spitzer v. Grasso in the New York state courts.
“We are fortunate to have such a renowned attorney join our company as we navigate the rapidly changing media landscape,” said Murdoch. “Throughout his distinguished career, Gerson has earned a reputation as one of the nation’s leading litigators and a staunch protector of the First Amendment. This coupled with his wide-ranging experience and exceptional leadership skills will prove invaluable to News Corporation’s global business.”
“I could not be more thrilled to join the leader in global media at such a pivotal time in its history,” said Zweifach. “It would be hard to imagine a more compelling opportunity to have far-reaching impact across a variety of legal issues and challenges. I look forward to working in concert with Rupert and News Corporation’s businesses, to help ensure the best possible return to all of the company’s stakeholders.”
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