New chief executive for News Ltd

07:24, Nov 09 2011

John Hartigan has resigned as chief executive and chairman of News Ltd after a 41-year career at the publisher, with Foxtel chief executive Kim Williams to take his place.

Rupert Murdoch will take over as chairman of News Ltd when Mr Hartigan departs on November 30.

Mr Hartigan, who became chief executive of News Ltd in 2000, took on the chairman's role in 2005.

"John's decision will end a distinguished 41-year career with News in which he has given us exemplary service and incredible leadership," News Corp chief executive Rupert Murdoch said in a statement on Wednesday.

Mr Williams, who will become News Ltd chief executive on December 5, said in an interview with Sky News that his time at Foxtel had prepared him to take the helm, especially now that some of its newspapers were charging customers subscriptions.

"I understand subscriptions. I understand customer value, I understand customer pricing. I understand customer relations," he said in the interview, shortly after the announcement was made.

Mr Williams said that his appointment reflected the fact that media platforms, such as print, televisions and digital, were converging.

"All manner of different devices are commonplace," he said.

But he added that there was still a healthy future for print products.

Richard Freudenstein has been appointed chief executive of Foxtel, also effective on December 5. He has been chief executive of The Australian newspaper and News Ltd's digital media business.

Mr Williams said Foxtel was a central part of Australia's media landscape.

"Foxtel is a company devoted to innovation in the service to the consumer," he said.

"Foxtel will be one of the central elements to modern media delivery in Australia."