While media companies are already in a dire situation, Time Warner further underscored with today’s management shuffle. Chairman and CEO Randy Falco is stepping down with his Chief Operating Officer Ron Grant to leave the company. He will be replaced by a snatch from Google, now former senior vice president of the giant search enging firm Tim Armstrong. According to the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Armstrong, who worked at Google for 8 years would be “helpful in helping Time Warner determine the optimal structure for AOL.” The departure of the two executives were said to be due to the growing criticism with regard to their leadership abilities. Falco, who came from NBC in 2006, had little experience with the net world. Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt released a statement about Armstrong’s departure saying,
“Since arriving at Google eight and a half years ago, Tim Armstrong has been a critical force in Google’s advertiser-facing operations,” he said. “We’re very sad to see him go, but would like to take this opportunity to wish Tim every success and good fortune in this new role at AOL — one of Google’s longest standing partners.”
On the other side of the fence, Ruper Murdoch announced that the Fox business will be restructured in order to cut costs. The company’s film and television production businesses will be combined under two News Corp. movie executives, Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman. Rothman is currently the co-chairmen of Fox Filmed Entertainment. All of Fox’s TV-entertainment networks will now be reporting to Tony Vinciquerra. The contents of Murdoch’s letter to his people are posted below (bolds are mine):
Today I’m announcing a series of management changes to our LA-based businesses to ensure we’re well positioned to meet the challenges and opportunities we will face in the coming months. I have been deeply engaged with senior management to develop a renewed model on which to further grow and transform our business. Challenging economic times can yield great advancements and ultimately unleash new, innovative thinking. Ours is a company that has always thrived on change, so it’s with great enthusiasm that I share with you our initial plans for moving forward.
Effective immediately, all of our LA-based creative production businesses will be reporting to Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman, co-chairmen and CEOs of Fox Filmed Entertainment. Tom and Jim have built one of the most successful studios in the world, and I have full confidence in their ability to manage our film and television talent in transformative ways. Under this new structure, Gary Newman and Dana Walden, co-chairmen of Twentieth Century Fox Television, will report to Tom and Jim. Emiliano Calemzuk, president, Fox Television Studios, will report to Dana and Gary.
This new creative structure will enable us immediately to operate more efficiently. We will remove unnecessary barriers that have existed between our businesses, thereby better facilitating the sharing of ideas and resources. Not only will we benefit as a business from these changes, but perhaps most importantly, I’m certain our end users – the millions of people around the world who every day enjoy our creative products – will see the benefits as well.
On the television network side of the business, Tony Vinciquerra, chairman and CEO of Fox Networks Group, will continue to head the cable networks, the business aspects of FOX Broadcasting, Fox International Channels, and will gain responsibility for FOX Broadcasting programming. Tony has been instrumental in growing our cable businesses both domestically and internationally, and has been responsible for negotiating many of our landmark carriage and broadcast deals that have made us the leader in broadcast and cable television. As part of this restructuring, Peter Liguori has stepped down as chairman of entertainment, Fox Broadcasting. Under his leadership, FOX was the number one network four years in a row, and I am grateful for his many contributions.
Peter Rice, president of Fox Searchlight, will exit his role at the specialty label and will assume the role of chairman of entertainment, Fox Broadcasting. During his long and successful tenure at Fox Searchlight, Peter has been the driving force behind the success of the specialty film genre, shepherding to the screen some of the industry’s most successful films, including Slumdog Millionaire, Little Miss Sunshine, and Juno. Peter has the vision, creativity and determination to grow and remodel our television network, and I’m delighted he has accepted this new challenge. In this role, Peter will report directly to Tony Vinciquerra.
With Peter’s departure at Fox Searchlight, Nancy Utley and Steve Gilula will jointly run the business, reporting to Jim and Tom. Nancy and Steve, COOs of Fox Searchlight, who have been Peter’s partners through all of the unit’s great successes, will assume full authority for the business. Claudia Lewis, president of production, remains in place.
Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO of FOX News Channel and Fox Business Network and chairman of the Fox Television Stations and Twentieth Television, and Peter Levinsohn, president of Fox Interactive Media, will continue to report directly to me.
Please join me in congratulating Jim, Tom, Tony and Peter in their new roles.