(Adds executives comments from quarterly call, financial detail
on Dow Jones)
By Jennifer Saba
May 8 News Corp on Thursday made the
interim appointment of Dow Jones Chief Executive Officer William
Lewis permanent as the company opted for a veteran of Rupert
Murdoch's empire to oversee a turnaround effort.
Lewis, 45, was named to lead Dow Jones, publisher of The
Wall Street Journal, on an interim basis on Jan. 21 after the
abrupt departure of Lex Fenwick, who was formerly chief
executive of rival financial news provider Bloomberg.
Lewis, a onetime Financial Times M&A reporter, will have his
work cut out repairing relations with Dow Jones' core customer
base of banks, hedge funds and retail brokers and stopping the
loss of sales.
News Corp is overhauling Dow Jones' institutional products
following the exit of Fenwick, who had implemented a
one-size-fits all strategy with a bundled product known as DJX
with little room for price negotiation.
"We've adjusted the product, we've adjusted the pitch and
we've adjusted the pricing to suit our customers' needs," Robert
Thomson, chief executive of News Corp said on a conference call
with analysts after reporting quarterly results.
"What Will Lewis and the team have done in the last few
months is go out and frankly talk to customers and find out what
they want from us."
News Corp Chief Financial Officer Bedi Singh said during an
earnings call on Thursday that for the quarter ending March, Dow
Jones institutional sales fell $20 million. That compares with a
$17 million drop in institutional sales in the prior quarter.
The company does not break out the total institutional sales
Fenwick left Dow Jones after his Dow Jones enterprise
business strategy, which includes products like Newswires and
news database Factiva, faltered and alienated clients with a
rigid pricing structure.
Thomson said in a statement that Lewis had brought "focus
and energy" to Dow Jones and "reconnected with core clients."
"He has also brought extra vigor to The Wall Street Journal
franchise, which is developing its digital strategy, an area in
which Will has particular expertise," he added.
News Corp also announced on Thursday better than expected
quarterly earnings, where adjusted earnings per share of 11
cents handily beat analysts expectations of 3
Lewis was recruited to lead News Corp's management and
standards committee after a phone hacking scandal from 2011 to
2012. He was named chief creative officer of News Corp last year
when the company split from its cable, TV and movie properties
now under 21st Century Fox.
Lewis, like his boss Thomson, is a veteran of the Financial
Times. He also was the business editor at The Sunday Times and
editor in chief of The Telegraph Media Group.
Thomson Reuters competes with Dow Jones in providing news
and data to banks and other financial institutions.
(Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York; Editing by Cynthia