Kim Williams, currently chief executive of Foxtel, is to succeed News Limited chief executive John Hartigan who will down next month after 41 years with the company, Rupert Murdoch announced today.
Rupert Murdoch resumes the role of chairman.
The job at Foxtel goes to Richard Freudenstein, who has moved quickly up the News tree, recently adding chief executive of The Australian and to his role as boss of the group’s digital media business.
Williams, whose boisterous corporate self-interest was evident when he spoke at PANPA’s Future Forum last year, has led the pay TV broadcaster since December 2001. He had previously been chief executive of several Australian media businesses including Fox Studios Australia, Southern Star Entertainment and the Australian Film Commission.
He had also been a senior executive at the ABC. Chairman of the Sydney Opera House since 2005, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2006.
Unlike Hartigan – who has had a long journalistic career starting as a reporter on the Sydney 'Daily Mirror' and before that, a copy boy at Fairfax – there's no mention in his CV of a journalistic background.
Making the announcement, Rupert Murdoch paid tribute to Hartigan, adding that his decision “ends a distinguished 41-year career with News in which he has given us exemplary service and incredible leadership.
“He has earned enormous respect among both colleagues and competitors. I thank John for contributing so much to our company and applaud his great integrity and immense talent as a journalist and an executive.”
"John has been an outstanding reporter, an editor with few peers and an inspiring executive. Few people have contributed as much as John to the quality of journalism in Australia,” he says.