Dow Jones Combines Journal, Newswire Operations

dowjones.jpgDow Jones & Co., the News Corp.-owned publisher of The Wall Street Journal, yesterday announced plans to merge its two biggest business units: its consumer and enterprise operations.

The restructuring combines the company’s consumer arm — which includes the Journal, MarketWatch and Barron’s — with its newswire and Factiva businesses. The move also includes an executive shakeup, with CFO Stephen Daintith taking on the role of chief operating officer of the company and Todd Larsen, COO of the Consumer Media Group, becoming president. Clare Hart, president of the Enterprise Media Group, is leaving the company where she has worked for more than 25 years.

Dow Jones CEO Les Hinton said the move was all about streamlining operations. “This structure will provide the focus to make us faster and better than our rivals at identifying and meeting customer needs,” he said in a statement.

Dow Jones also has a third business unit, the Local Media Group, which will continue to operate independently after the combination of the other two groups is completed.

Although the Journal had a banner year in 2009, becoming the number one paper in the U.S. based on circulation, it has not been immune from cuts, including the closure of its Boston bureau. In November, news surfaced that Dow Jones had hired consultancy McKinsey & Co., known for its brutal slashing of media companies like Condé Nast. Could this restructuring be a result of McKinsey’s influence?

Update: Our sister blog PRNewser reports that a Dow Jones spokesperson said the reorganization will have “no effect” on editorial staffing at the company.

Full release, after the jump

Previously: Dow Jones Taps McKinsey & Co.

Dow Jones Combines Consumer and Enterprise Businesses In New Organizational Structure
Larsen Named President; Daintith Named Chief Operating Officer

NEW YORK, Jan. 4, 2010 — Dow Jones & Company announced a new organizational structure combining its consumer and enterprise businesses in a unified group serving customers across all platforms and distribution channels.

The new alignment puts key products such as The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones Newswires and Factiva in a single operating unit.

“We have devoted two years to improving our products. This is the right time for a strategic step aimed at coordinating their development and marketing for the future,” said Les Hinton, chief executive of Dow Jones. “This structure will provide the focus to make us faster and better than our rivals at identifying and meeting customer needs.”

With the change, two Dow Jones executives take on enhanced roles. Todd Larsen becomes president of Dow Jones with responsibility for the primary commercial operations of the company. Stephen Daintith becomes chief operating officer of Dow Jones where he will provide strategic guidance for the entire organization while continuing his responsibilities as chief financial officer.

Clare Hart, who was president of the Enterprise Media Group and an executive vice president of Dow Jones, will be leaving the company.

“This isn’t about personalities, and it’s not about costs,” Mr. Hinton said. “It’s about the best way to operate an information business at a time when technology provides new tools for delivering news and new opportunities for keeping businesses and individuals informed.”

“Clare has been a dedicated and much-valued executive in the two years since I joined Dow Jones. I have greatly valued Clare’s advice, support, and hard work, and wish her well in the future,” Mr. Hinton said.

“Over my more than 25 years at Dow Jones, we have evolved from a newspaper with an interest in technology to a modern, global company which embraces the potential of digital information,” Ms. Hart said. “As proud as I am to have been a partner to that achievement, I am prouder still for wonderful customers and dynamic partners who drove our success and for the outstanding colleagues with whom it was my pleasure to work.”

Prior to 2010, Dow Jones had three major operating units. The Consumer Media Group included The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and MarketWatch. The Enterprise Media Group included Dow Jones Newswires, Factiva, Indexes, Client Solutions and Financial Information Services. The Local Media Group, which will continue to function independently, is the company’s community news division and includes eight daily newspapers and 15 weeklies in six states.

As president of Dow Jones, Mr. Larsen will lead the business operations of the Journal, Newswires, Factiva and other products, including advertising, sales, marketing and product development. Prior to this year, he was chief operating officer of the Consumer Media Group where he was responsible for strategy, business development, financial management and day-to-day operations of the unit. Previously, he had been president of what Dow Jones then called the Consumer Electronic Publishing business, which included and other online businesses. He joined Dow Jones in 1999 from Booz Allen & Hamilton.

As chief operating officer for Dow Jones, Mr. Daintith oversees finance, technology and other administrative functions for the company. He joined Dow Jones as chief financial offer in 2008. Prior to that, he had been the CFO at News International, the publisher of The Sun, The Times, The News of the World and The Sunday Times since 2005. Mr. Daintith previously held several executive positions at British American Tobacco.