News Corp. names new head of publishing division, new WSJ editor, folds ‘The Daily’

News Corp. announced details Monday describing how it will split the company, while naming Robert Thomson the new CEO of its publishing division, while promoting Gerard Baker to lead Dow Jones and become managing editor of The Wall Street Journal.

The company announces in the press release:

In keeping with the company’s 60-year heritage of bringing news to the world, the publishing entity will retain the name News Corporation. The media and entertainment company, which began in earnest when Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch acquired 20th Century Fox and launched the Fox Network more than 25 years ago, will be named Fox Group.

As previously announced, Rupert Murdoch will serve as Chairman of the new News Corporation and Chairman and CEO of Fox Group. Chase Carey will serve as President and Chief Operating Officer of Fox Group, with James Murdoch continuing in his capacity as Deputy Chief Operating Officer.

As part of its realignment, News Corp. will fold iPad publication, The Daily, it says. “Technology and other assets from The Daily, including some staff, will be folded into The Post,” and the publication’s editor-in-chief, Jesse Angelo, will become publisher of the New York Post, where he has been executive editor. In the release, Rupert Murdoch said:

From its launch, The Daily was a bold experiment in digital publishing and an amazing vehicle for innovation. Unfortunately, our experience was that we could not find a large enough audience quickly enough to convince us the business model was sustainable in the long-term. Therefore we will take the very best of what we have learned at The Daily and apply it to all our properties. Under the editorial leadership of Editor-in-Chief Col Allan and the business and digital leadership of Jesse, I know The New York Post will continue to grow and become stronger on the web, on mobile, and not least, the paper itself. I want to thank all of the journalists, digital and business professionals for the hard work they put into The Daily.

Following a leak on Sunday of Thomson’s pending appointment, News Corp.’s U.K. newspaper chief, Tom Mockridge, announced his resignation. Mockridge has been in his position at News International for 18 months and was viewed as a possible contender to lead the new publishing company.

News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch said in a statement that Mockridge’s “decision to step down is absolutely and entirely his own.” Mockridge said in his resignation note that “the new structure does not offer me a role I am comfortable with and, after 22 years with the company in five countries, I feel I have made enough of a contribution to make a personal choice to go.”

With the appointment of Thomson, News Corp.’s publishing division will take aim squarely at The New York Times Co., under its own new leadership of ex-BBC director Mark Thompson, Ken Doctor writes.

Doctor says Thomson’s actions at the Journal in the past five years earned him this promotion:

He’s led a serious remaking of the Journal and its further integration with other Dow Jones news assets, as the WSJ Digital Network becomes the global brand for the Journal, Barron’s, Marketwatch, and All Things Digital. He’s taken America’s authoritative business daily and given it a bullet-nosed edge for the 21st Century. Reporting resources have been beefed up, more beats added, and efforts at competing for national and global non-business news advanced. Sure, some of the Journal’s quirky personality has faded, but the Journal is a meaner, leaner global news enterprise. In its embrace of video, of global, and of mobile, it’s the clear leader of the News Corp. pack of newspapers on three continents, and a leader among its peers.

News Corp. will be making a presentation for investors and analysts Tuesday at the annual UBS global media conference in New York, which may partially explain the timing of these announcements.

Related: Ken Auletta profiles Elisabeth Murdoch’s rising status as the potential heir to her 81-year-old father’s business empire (The New Yorker)

Press release

Gerard Baker Named Top Editor for Dow Jones & Company, The Wall Street Journal

NEW YORK, Dec. 3, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Dow Jones & Company announced today the appointment of Gerard Baker as Editor-in-Chief of Dow Jones and Managing Editor of The Wall Street Journal, effective January 1, 2013.

Mr. Baker is currently Deputy Editor-in-Chief of The Wall Street Journal, a role he has held since January 2009, and succeeds Robert Thomson, who has been named Chief Executive Officer of the new proposed publishing entity for News Corporation.

“The Journal’s growth has exceeded even the most optimistic of expectations because of the extraordinary men and women who fill our newsrooms,” said Lex Fenwick, Chief Executive Officer of Dow Jones & Company and Publisher of The Wall Street Journal. “Gerry Baker’s extensive background across digital and print, as well as publications and geographies, has helped shape the Journal’s coverage during his time as Deputy Editor-in-Chief. I am thrilled to work with him as he builds on Robert Thomson’s fantastic work to steer us to even greater heights.”

“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 as Editor-in-Chief of The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones,” said Mr. Thomson. “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.”

Added Mr. Baker, “I am honored and excited beyond words to be given the opportunity to lead the finest team in journalism. It has been a joy and an education to be a member of the Dow Jones newsroom these last four years, and I am acutely conscious of what an extraordinary privilege and profound responsibility it is to be Editor-in-Chief. I am ineffably grateful to and admiring of Robert Thomson for all he has done for Dow Jones over the last five years. I look forward to playing my part in our continued success.”

The Dow Jones Special Committee, whose approval of a new Editor-in-Chief is required under an Agreement formed at the time of the acquisition of Dow Jones by News Corporation in late 2007, has unanimously endorsed Mr. Baker’s appointment.

In a statement, the committee noted that Mr. Baker “assured the committee of his commitment to the Journal’s ethical standards and to the continued clear separation of news and opinion within the newspaper and Dow Jones Newswires.”

Upon the commencement of his new role, Mr. Baker will assume oversight of all global newsgathering and editorial operations for The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires, reporting to Mr. Fenwick. Paul Gigot, Editorial Page Editor for the Journal, will continue to report to Mr. Fenwick.

Five Years of Investment, Innovation and Expansion

Since News Corporation acquired Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal in December 2007, and under Mr. Thomson’s editorial leadership, Dow Jones’ commitment to quality journalism has fueled the growth, expansion and innovation of the franchise across platforms and regions. Dow Jones has a global news staff of 2,000 journalists in more than 80 bureaus worldwide, and The Wall Street Journal has become the largest newspaper in the U.S. by total average circulation. The publication has maintained this position for the last three years based on multiple reporting periods from the Alliance for Audited Media.

The Journal has dramatically expanded its content for subscribers, adding a host of new sections—including Greater New York, Review, Off Duty and Mansion—to complement and complete its core of unrivalled business and finance coverage. In addition, WSJ., the luxury lifestyle magazine which launched in 2008 as a quarterly publication, will publish 11 issues in 2013, while the current December issue is the largest ever in terms of total pages and ad pages.

The Wall Street Journal Digital Network now boasts more than 1.3 million paid digital subscribers, complemented by nearly 60 million visitors per month to its Web sites, a 100% increase from 2008. WSJ Live currently provides more than four hours of live video and hundreds of hours of on-demand content to more than 25 platforms globally, including a range of Internet-connected televisions and set-top boxes, such as Apple TV, Roku, Xbox and more.

The company’s expansion across content is complemented by a growth across geographies. WSJ.com is now available in eight languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean and German, with additional local-language sites being developed for Turkey and Brazil in the coming months. Traffic from outside the U.S. to the English-language version of WSJ.com has increased from 16% of the site’s total traffic in 2008 to 34% so far in 2012, demonstrating a growing global influence.

With the company’s “WSJ Everywhere” philosophy, the franchise expansion across geographies, platforms and devices, has also provided a number of new and innovative methods for advertisers to reach the Journal’s global community of influencers. For example, the launches of WSJ. Magazine, Greater New York, Mansion and the expanded WSJ Weekend have combined to attract a total of more than 330 new advertisers to the Journal franchise.

About Mr. Baker

Mr. Baker joined The Wall Street Journal in 2009 as Deputy Editor-in-Chief, with responsibilities across the full spectrum of the company’s journalism, including the print and digital editions of the Journal as well as Dow Jones Newswires. In this role, he reports to Mr. Thomson.

Before joining the Journal, Mr. Baker was the U.S. Editor and an Assistant Editor of The Times of London, where he wrote news and commentary for Britain’s longest continuously published newspaper and oversaw U.S. coverage for the paper and online editions.

From 1994 to 2004, Mr. Baker worked for the Financial Times, first as Tokyo Correspondent, where he wrote about the country’s financial crisis, and then, from 1998 to 2002, as Washington Bureau Chief, where he led a team of 10 correspondents and provided extensive reporting and analysis of the Federal Reserve. From 2002 to 2004, he was the FT’s Chief U.S. Commentator and an Associate Editor.

Before joining the FT, Mr. Baker worked for the BBC from 1988 to 1994, as a producer, then as U.S. producer, then as Economics Correspondent for TV and radio.

In addition to the Journal, the FT, The Times and the BBC, Mr. Baker’s work has appeared in many other publications and he has been a frequent television and radio contributor in the UK, the U.S. and around the world.

Mr. Baker started his working life in the financial sector, first as an analyst at the Bank of England, then as an economist at Lloyds Bank in the City of London.

He was educated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford University, where he graduated in 1983 with a First Class Honours Degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.

Jeff Sonderman contributed to this report.

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