Huge changes are afoot at News Corp. today as the scandal-wracked company prepares to split into two publicly traded parts. The media juggernaut announced that Robert Thomson, a long-serving lieutenant of Rupert Murdoch, would be named CEO of its soon-to-be-separated publishing arm, and that it would pull the plug on The Daily, its costly and much-ballyhooed tablet-only experiment.
The demise of The Daily (which should come as no surprise, given it’s fallen far short of its goal of 500,000 subscribers, leading to substantial staff cuts last August) will likely be read as another nail in the coffin of tablet-only publications, or at least, that it will require much more time and experimentation for such a format to get a sustained audience. Yet if News Corp., which is one of a few companies that have the means to stay the course, is throwing in the towel, it’s hard to imagine others stepping in to fill the void.
The Daily’s top executives will be absorbed elsewhere at News Corp. Editor Jesse Angelo is heading back to The New York Post as publisher (replacing Paul Carlucci, who will shift his focus to his role as chairman of News America Marketing). The Daily’s publisher Greg Clayman will oversee the company’s global digital strategy.
Back to Thomson. The editor in chief and managing editor of The Wall Street Journal is famously close to Murdoch, yet despite his longtime, close association with his boss, Thomson has avoided implication in the phone-hacking scandal that’s been hanging over the company. The two, both Australian-born, dyed-in-the-wool newspapermen, are said to talk several times a day. Gerard Baker, now deputy editor in chief of the Journal, will succeed Thomson in his Dow Jones and Journal roles.
Abroad, another longtime News Corp. official Tom Mockridge, CEO of the company’s British newspaper arm, News International, said he would step down at the end of the year. Mockridge took over for Rebekah Brooks, one of the central figures of the phone-hacking scandal at the company’s News of the World tabloid.
The future publishing entity will keep the name News Corp. The media and entertainment company will be called Fox Group, with Chase Carey at its head and Murdoch son James Murdoch continuing as deputy chief operating officer. The company has already announced that Murdoch père would be chairman of the new News Corp. and chairman and CEO of Fox Group.