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News Corp. EVP Rich Battista Exits (Exclusive)

The company had struggled to find a new role for the cable and digital veteran following a restructuring of Fox Networks

Rich Battista, a 20-year veteran of the cable and digital business is leaving News Corp., TheWrap has learned.

Battista is currently an executive vice president at the media company, but has struggled to find a new role after News Corp restructured its entertainment and sports television operations last January.

Battista had been president of Fox National Cable Networks, but after the overhaul was complete, many of his former responsibilities shifted to Fox Networks Group Chairman Peter Rice and Fox Sports Chairman David Hill.

In the interim he was working on strategic projects for the company.

His future plans have not been announced, but News Corp. executives praised his versatility and for his handling of Fox's suite of cable channels.

Prior to coming to News Corp., Battista served was chief executive officer of Gemstar-TV Guide International, from 2004-2008. There he helped revitalize TV Guide Magazine
and TV Guide Network.

Battista also was the co-founder and CEO of iFUSE, a youth culture media company.

Over the years, Battista held several management positions at Fox, which he first joined in 1990. Among his posts, he was executive vice president of Fox Sports International, senior vice president of program enterprises for 20th Television and vice president, Worldwide Pay TV for 20th Century Fox.

Here's the company memo announcing Battista's departure:

November 4, 2010

Dear Colleagues –

I’m writing to inform you that Rich Battista, who has been a valued member of our leadership team for many years, is leaving us to explore his next adventure. Tomorrow will be his last day. He will be missed by all of us on both a personal and professional level.

Rich has a long and successful history with our company. He’s held a number of significant roles here, beginning twenty years ago when he joined us to help guide the growth of the rapidly evolving Fox television portfolio. He also led business development and strategy for Fox Networks Group, and later, Fox Entertainment Group. Rich then served as CEO of Gemstar TV-Guide, where he led a successful corporate turnaround enabling us to sell it to Macrovision in 2008.

More recently, Rich oversaw a number of our leading national cable networks,many of which he helped launch, including FX, NatGeo, Speed, Fuel, Fox Soccer Channel, and Fox Sports en Espanol, among others. Under his leadership, we enjoyed record revenues and the ratings to match. He finished up his tenure here running a number of special projects for News Corp, most of which focused on
television and digital.

I’m sure you join me in wishing Rich all the best on his future endeavors.

Best regards,
Tony