Rupert Murdoch put the future of his newspaper and publishing empire in the hands of a fellow Australian Monday as he set in motion the split of the media-entertainment conglomerate.
Murdoch also announced the shutdown of the pioneering iPad newspaper The Daily due to a lack of readers.
The moves came as Murdoch prepares to break the conglomerate into two separate companies, with one in charge of the fast-growing film and television operations, to be named Fox Group, the other to manage the struggling news and publishing businesses.
In a statement, News Corp said Robert Thomson, 52, editor-in-chief of the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal, will take the helm of Murdoch’s global publishing entity as chief executive officer on New Year’s Day.
A soft-spoken Australian and one-time China correspondent, Thomson is a longtime close confidant of Murdoch, 81, and a former editor of The Times of London.
In a statement, News Corp also said Mike Darcy, a former chief operating officer of BSkyB, will replace Tom Mockridge as chief executive officer of News International. Mockridge leaves the company at the end of the year.
News International is publisher of The Sun and the defunct News of World, tabloid newspapers that have been at the center of a firestorm in Britain over the hacking of cellphone voice mails.
News Corp also announced that it will cease publication of its iPad app The Daily from December 15, adding cryptically however that “the brand will on in other channels.”
Some staff from the virtual newspaper, launched in February 2011, will shift to the New York Post, it said.
Murdoch called The Daily — exclusively designed for touchscreen tablets — “a bold experiment,” but acknowledged that it was unable to find enough paying readers to sustain it.
As previously announced, Murdoch will serve as chairman of the new News Corporation and chairman and CEO of Fox Group. Chase Carey will be president and chief operating officer of Fox Group, with Murdoch’s son James continuing in his capacity as deputy chief operating officer.