News Corp. Taps Robert Thomson to Run Publishing Company

Robert Thomson, managing editor of the Wall Street Journal and editor in chief of Dow Jones, brings credibility to the scandal-plagued unit

News Corp. has tapped Robert Thomson, managing editor of the Wall Street Journal and editor in chief of Dow Jones, to run its publishing company, the Journal reported Saturday, citing unnamed sources.

His appointment could come as early as next week, the paper said. Gerald Baker, deputy editor of the Journal, is expected to succeed Thomson.

Also read: WSJ Editor Sends Ethics Memo to Staff in Wake of Scandal

In June, News Corp. announced it would split into two companies — one for its publishing assets, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and HarperCollins, the other for its film and television businesses, including 20th Century Fox studio and Fox News cable channel.

Also read: News Corp. Officially Announces Split Plans

Thomson, 51, has been at the Journal since 2008. He has also served as editor of The Times of London, editor of the U.S. edition of the Financial Times and worked at newspapers in Australia, including the Melbourne Herald and the Sydney Morning Herald.

Significantly, Thomson was never caught up in the phone hacking scandal that engulfed News Corp.'s U.K. tabloids and led the shuttering of the News of the World. And while no one at the Wall Street Journal was accused of the phone hacking that took down the News of the World, Dow Jones’ former CEO Les Hinton resigned from his position because he oversaw the tabloid while much of the hacking took place.

Other senior News Corp. publishing executives including Rebekah Brooks, former chief executive of News International, are facing charges in the United Kingdom over their alleged roles in the phone hacking.

Naming Thomson would signal a clean break with the scandal in the new publishing division and a desire to emphasize editorial principles associated with the respected Wall Street Journal.

Last year Thomson sent a memo to his staff members saying that they must hold themselves to a “higher standards of probity than other news organizations.”

“By almost any measure, we have the most successful newspaper in the U.S. and, arguably, the world, an exponentially expanding digital presence, and a peerless team of journalists passionate about ethics and hungry for more success,” he wrote.  “It is important that all editors take responsibility for reporters in their care and that all reporters take care.”

Thomson did not immediately respond to TheWrap's requests for comment. A spokesman for News Corp. declined comment.

Brent Lang contributed to this report.

 

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