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Reuters reported that the conglomerate’s News International U.K. newspaper unit has named John Witherow, the editor of the Sunday Times, to the role of acting editor of the daily Times, effective immediately. His deputy Martin Ivens has been named acting editor of the Sunday Times.
The moves follow the December departure of Times editor James Harding.
The independent directors, charged with keeping the two titles separate and independent from interference since Murdoch bought them in 1981, have initially refused to approve the appointments. Reuters cited a disagreement over the future of the papers, which the company has signaled are in need of financial improvements, meaning likely cost cuts.
“During this interim period of continued consultation…we still have a responsibility to provide these two newspapers and their journalists with strong and stable leadership,” said recently named News International CEO Mike Darcey.
Witherow and Ivens met the independent directors on Thursday, but they withheld formal approval pending a more in-depth review, according to Reuters.
“We welcome their clear understanding of the very difficult financial position of our newspapers,” said Darcey.
News Corp. is planning to split its entertainment conglomerate into two companies — one will include its newspapers and the other the empire’s film and TV businesses.
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