News Corp. Shuffles Deck Ahead of Dow Jones Close

News Corp. announced some personnel changes ahead of the close of its acquisition of Dow Jones next week.

The new CEO of Dow Jones will be Les Hinton, who had been executive chairman of News International, News Corporation's U.K. newspaper group. Hinton will replace Richard F. Zannino, who announced his resignation Thursday.

“Les is one of the most respected executives in the media industry,” News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch said in a statement. “He has a great record of introducing innovations that have been replicated by other newspaper companies around the world. I have every confidence that his energy, dedication and foresight will enable Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal to reach their full potential as the leading financial information source globally.”

Former editor of The Times Robert Thomson will become publisher of Dow Jones and WSJ. Thomson, 46, will have reporting to him the managing editor of WSJ, the editorial-page editor, the managing editor of Dow Jones Newswires and the editors of Barron’s and Thomson will replace Gordon Crovitz, who resigned Friday.

Prior to his stint at The Times, which began in 2002, Thomson was editor of the U.S. edition of the Financial Times.

Dow Jones executive vice president, general counsel, corporate secretary and board member Joseph Stern announced that he will be leaving these positions at the close of the acquisition but will remain on through March 31 to assist in the transition.

News Corp. also announced changes to its board. Both James Murdoch, son of chairman Rupert, and Natalie Bancroft have been appointed to the board of directors. Chase Carey, president and CEO of DirecTV, resigned from the board. Carey was originally expected to leave the board upon conclusion of the Liberty Media transaction, which will close in the first quarter of 2008.

James Murdoch, 34, has also been appointed chairman and chief executive of News Corp. Europe and Asia, and he will become a member of the company’s office of the chairman. He had been serving as CEO and director of British Sky Broadcasting Group since 2003.

The appointment of Bancroft, 27, will be effective upon the closing of the Dow Jones acquisition.