Vinciquerra Exits Fox Networks, Haslingden Promoted

Ten-year veteran steps down as part of large-scale reorganization at News Corp. TV properties

Tony Vinciquerra is stepping down as chief executive officer of Fox Networks Group as part of a widescale overhaul of the company's television operations.

The ten-year company veteran, who will leave the company on Feb. 11, oversaw the Fox television network and cable channels, including FX and National Geographic.

In a statement from News Corp. COO Chase Carey, no official replacement was named, but David Haslingden will essentially assume Vinciquerra's role by becoming president and chief operating officer of the Fox Networks Group. Haslingden (pictured below) had previously served as CEO of Fox International Channels, and will relocate to Los Angeles as part of the overhaul.

"We have achieved many milestones over the past decade for which I will be forever grateful to you and to Rupert, Chase Carey and Peter Chernin," Vinciquerra wrote in a letter to staff announcing his departure. "I’ve decided now is the time for me to do something different — probably more entrepreneurial in nature — and I am excited to begin down that path."

A Fox spokesperson told TheWrap that the decision to leave was Vinciquerra's, and that the executive was not forced out.  

However, Vinciquerra's authority was reportedly undermined after Chase Carey returned to News Corp. in May of 2009 as chief operating officer, replacing outgoing Peter Chernin. 

On Thursday, Carey hailed Vinciquerra's contributions.

"Over the past decade, Tony has made many significant contributions to our organization, chief among them helping to build our cable portfolio into one of News Corporation’s biggest growth drivers," Carey wrote in a letter to staff. "We all owe Tony a debt of gratitude for everything he has done to get us to the enviable position we hold today."

Vinciquerra did not say what his future plans were after he left Fox. 

As part of the reorganization, David Hill, chairman and CEO of Fox Sports Media Group, will oversee National Geographic Channels. Randy Freer and Eric Shanks, who both have president titles at Fox Sports, will be co-president and COOs of Fox Sports Media Group. Mike Hopkins will continue heading affiliate sales and marketing for the cable channels, but will also oversee the networks' digital strategies.

Full text of Vinciquerra's letter to staff: 

January 6, 2011

To My Colleagues at FNG, FBC, Fox Sports, Fox International Channels and NE&O:

It is with extraordinarily mixed feelings that I tell you February 11 will be my last day at Fox. It has been an amazing 10 years working with this wonderful company and the many exceptionally talented people within all of our groups.

We have achieved many milestones over the past decade for which I will be forever grateful to you and to Rupert, Chase Carey and Peter Chernin. We have seen the emergence of FX as a creative power in cable programming. We have grown our Regional Sports Networks into the most dominant supplier of local sports telecasts in the country. Fox Sports is now the place to go to see the Big Events and it is slated to add many more to its roster over the next years. We’ve served as an industry catalyst, driving the evolution of standard definition to high definition television. FBC has been the most formidable network in the history of broadcast television, winning more years in a row than any other network, and it appears we will add to that run this year and next with the addition of X Factor.

We have launched from green fields many businesses that have grown to be successful in their own right, channels like The Big Ten Network, Fox Reality Channel and its transition into National Geographic Wild, Fuel, and Utilissima. And our FIC business has grown to be the most successful international group in the industry and shows no signs of slowing down.

Moreover, through the focused teamwork and determination of all our groups working together, we’ve changed the financial structure of broadcast television in America to ensure it continues to grow and thrive.

I’ve decided now is the time for me to do something different — probably more entrepreneurial in nature — and I am excited to begin down that path. This is something I’ve thought about for some time and, with our strong competitive position and seasoned team of leaders in place, it is the right time to take the plunge. At the same time, it is very difficult to transition from the daily interactions I have with so many of you. We’ve built deep and trusting relationships over these very exciting years and I leave with the knowledge that I will remain in contact with you.

Most of all, my thoughts are centered around the fact that these incredible organizations we have built are now in the hands of extremely capable executives, each of which I have had the good fortune to work alongside and in whom I have the greatest confidence. You have shown your mettle in the best and most difficult of circumstances and have worked tirelessly (literally) for the betterment of Fox and News Corporation. For that, I am very proud of what you have accomplished and look forward to watching your continued growth, both personally and as a business. And if a war ever starts, I want to be on your side!!

Thanks again for all the fun, the trials, the tribulations, I will be forever proud to say I was your leader for a time…

And please always remember, you can do well, by doing good.

All my best to all of you in 2011 and beyond,