News Column

News International Chief Mockridge Quits; Daily Suspended

Dec. 3, 2012

Tom Mockridge, the chief executive of News International, is to step down in December after just 17 months in the post, it was announced Monday.

The announcement was part of a reorganization of News Corporation ahead of the upcoming split of its newspaper and book publishing interests from the dominant TV and film enterprises.

Mockridge took over the position in July 2011, from Rebekah Brooks, who resigned over a phone-hacking scandal at News International, the British arm of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation media empire.

Mockridge, who is from New Zealand, joined the Murdoch stable 22 years ago. Reports said Monday his departure is linked to restructuring plans at News Corporation.

"For nearly 22 years, it has been my pleasure to have Tom Mockridge as a colleague," Murdoch said in a statement.

"Whether it was his early days with our newspaper group in Australia, his incredible work building Sky Italia, or his steadfast leadership of News International, Tom has always been a skilled executive and a trusted friend. His decision to step down is absolutely and entirely his own."

News Corp. also announced the suspension of the digital newspaper The Daily, a publication founded 22 months ago to distribute news to tablet computers.

The Daily signed up about 100,000 subscribers, but it was not enough to keep the project afloat. Its final edition will be December 15.

"We could not find a large enough audience quickly enough to convince us the business model was sustainable in the long-term," said Murdoch in the statement, which detailed multiple managerial and structural changes at News Corporation.

Murdoch introduced The Daily in February 2011, calling it the "newspaper of the future," a digital medium produced for tablet computers.

Initially, it was an app exclusively for Apple's iPad, but in January it expanded to include a version for Google Android tablets.

In an email to employees earlier this year editor-in-chief Jesse Angelo said that 98 per cent of subscribers renewed their subscriptions, but a month later 50 of The Daily's 170 jobs were cut.

Angelo will become publisher of the New York Post, while publisher Greg Clayman will move to a position overseeing News Corporation's digital strategy.

News Corporation said some staff would be folded into the New York Post.

"We will take the very best of what we have learned at The Daily and apply it to all our properties," the statement said.

After the split the publishing entity will retain the name News Corporation, while the media and entertainment company, which began in earnest when Murdoch acquired 20th Century Fox and launched the Fox Network more than 25 years ago, will be named Fox Group.

Source: Copyright 2012 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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