Thursday was a busy day in the executive wings at AOL and News Corp. Both companies made changes to their org charts.
With the announcement of Peter Chernin’s departure in February, Rupert Murdoch hinted News Corp would shuffle around some executives to “streamline.” Today, in a memo to staff (reprinted below), the first of these changes were announced.
At the top, News Corp’s LA-based creative businesses will be combined and report to Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman, co-chairmen and CEOs of Fox Filmed Entertainment.
The co-chairmen of Twentieth Century Fox Television, Gary Newman and Dana Walden, will sit one tier below and report to Gianopulus and Rothman. Emiliano Calemzuk, the president of Fox Television Studios, will report to Newman and Walden.
In the Television network side, Tony Vinciquerra, chairman and CEO of Fox Networks Group, will continue to head the cable networks, the business aspects of FOX Broadcasting, Fox International Channels. He will also become responsible for FOX Broadcasting programming.
On the outs is Peter Liguori, the chairman of entertainment at Fox Broadcasting. He will step down after five years. Peter Rice, president of Fox Searchlight, will step up from his current role and assume Liguori’s position. Peter Rice will report to Tony Vinciquerra.
Filling Peter Rice’s slot at Fox Searchlight will be Nancy Utley and Steve Gilula. They’ll jointly the business reporting to Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman
Fox News Channel and Fox Interactive are, at least for now, untouched. Roger Ailes, the chairman and CEO of FOX News Channel, Fox Business Network and chairman of the Fox Television Stations and Twentieth Television will continue to report directly to Murdoch. Peter Levinsohn, president of Fox Interactive Media, will continue to report directly to Murdoch as well.
(The Full Murdoch Memo Follows Below).
AOL announced plans in January to trim its domestic headcount by as many as 700 people. The layoffs have begun and it turns out, current AOL executive leadership, Chairman and CEO Randy Falco and President and Chief Operating Officer Ron Grant, will be following the employees out.
The company announced today that it’s snagged Google VP (sales) Tim Armstrong to take the top slot.
Falco and Grant will leave after a transition. Armstrong will join AOL immediately.(press release)
"Tim is the right executive to move AOL into the next phase of its evolution," Time Warner chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes said in a statement.
AOL’s domestic ad revenue (less TAC) was off 18% percent in fiscal 2008 and International ad revenue was off 36%.
Armstrong, it’s hoped, will bring insight to help guide the restructuring.
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The Text of Rupert Murdoch’s Memo:
Today I’m announcing a series of management changes to our LA-based businesses to ensure we’re well positioned to meet the challenges and opportunities we will face in the coming months. I have been deeply engaged with senior management to develop a renewed model on which to further grow and transform our business. Challenging economic times can yield great advancements and ultimately unleash new, innovative thinking. Ours is a company that has always thrived on change, so it’s with great enthusiasm that I share with you our initial plans for moving forward.
Effective immediately, all of our LA-based creative production businesses will be reporting to Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman, co-chairmen and CEOs of Fox Filmed Entertainment. Tom and Jim have built one of the most successful studios in the world, and I have full confidence in their ability to manage our film and television talent in transformative ways. Under this new structure, Gary Newman and Dana Walden, co-chairmen of Twentieth Century Fox Television, will report to Tom and Jim. Emiliano Calemzuk, president, Fox Television Studios, will report to Dana and Gary.
This new creative structure will enable us immediately to operate more efficiently. We will remove unnecessary barriers that have existed between our businesses, thereby better facilitating the sharing of ideas and resources. Not only will we benefit as a business from these changes, but perhaps most importantly, I’m certain our end users–the millions of people around the world who every day enjoy our creative products – will see the benefits as well.
On the television network side of the business, Tony Vinciquerra, chairman and CEO of Fox Networks Group, will continue to head the cable networks, the business aspects of FOX Broadcasting, Fox International Channels, and will gain responsibility for FOX Broadcasting programming. Tony has been instrumental in growing our cable businesses both domestically and internationally, and has been responsible for negotiating many of our landmark carriage and broadcast deals that have made us the leader in broadcast and cable television. As part of this restructuring, Peter Liguori has stepped down as chairman of entertainment, Fox Broadcasting. Under his leadership, FOX was the number one network four years in a row, and I am grateful for his many contributions.
Peter Rice, president of Fox Searchlight, will exit his role at the specialty label and will assume the role of chairman of entertainment, Fox Broadcasting. During his long and successful tenure at Fox Searchlight, Peter has been the driving force behind the success of the specialty film genre, shepherding to the screen some of the industry’s most successful films, including Slumdog Millionaire, Little Miss Sunshine, and Juno. Peter has the vision, creativity and determination to grow and remodel our television network, and I’m delighted he has accepted this new challenge. In this role, Peter will report directly to Tony Vinciquerra.
With Peter’s departure at Fox Searchlight, Nancy Utley and Steve Gilula will jointly run the business, reporting to Jim and Tom. Nancy and Steve, COOs of Fox Searchlight, who have been Peter’s partners through all of the unit’s great successes, will assume full authority for the business. Claudia Lewis, president of production, remains in place.
Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO of FOX News Channel and Fox Business Network and chairman of the Fox Television Stations and Twentieth Television, and Peter Levinsohn, president of Fox Interactive Media, will continue to report directly to me.
Please join me in congratulating Jim, Tom, Tony and Peter in their new roles.