Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET
News Corp has restructured its Fox Networks Group as well-regarded company veteran Tony Vinciquerra has decided to leave the company. Serving as Chairman and CEO of the group since 2002, Vinciquerra will depart the company February 11.
"Tony has done an outstanding job building the Fox Networks Group into a powerful and important asset for the Company," said Carey in a statement. "We are grateful for his leadership over the past decade and, while we will miss his guidance, we respect his decision to seek new challenges at this point in his career."
In a memo to his staffers obtained by B&C, Vinciquerra expressed "extraordinarily mixed feelings" about his departure. "I've decided now is the time for me to do something different -- probably more entrepreneurial in nature -- and I am excited to begin down that path. This is something I've thought about for some time and, with our strong competitive position and seasoned team of leaders in place, it is the right time to take the plunge. At the same time, it is very difficult to transition from the daily interactions I have with so many of you. We've built deep and trusting relationships over these very exciting years and I leave with the knowledge that I will remain in contact with you."
With the departure of the exec known to many in the business as "Tony V," Fox International Channels CEO David Haslingden will become President and COO of the Networks Group, reporting to Carey.
In other related moves, several execs will now report directly to Carey, including Fox Sports Media Group Chairman and CEO David Hill, Fox Entertainment Chairman Peter Rice and Fox Networks President of Affiliate Sales and Marketing Mike Hopkins.
Hill will assume control of News Corp.'s National Geographic Channels domestic joint venture. Fox Sports presidents Randy Freer and Eric Shanks will now serve as Co-President and COOs of the Fox Sports Media Group, overseeing all of Fox's sports cable outlets, as well as all sports digital ventures.
Hernan Lopez is also being upped to President and CEO of Fox International Channels, replacing Haslingden.
The 55-year-old Vinciquerra's departure wasn't wholly unexpected following the return of Chase Carey to News Corp. as COO in 2009, a move which altered Vinciquerra's role within the company. Among his many accolades, Vinciquerra was inducted into the B&C Hall of Fame in 2009, led his company through a series of intense retrans deals with the likes of Time Warner Cable, Cablevision and Dish Network and was responsible for locking up several major sports property rights for both the broadcast and cable networks.
Following is the Carey's memo sent to staffers announcing the move.
We are announcing today that Tony Vinciquerra, who has been Chairman and CEO of the Fox Networks Group since 2002, has decided to leave the Company on February 11th (please see attached press release). Over the past decade, Tony has made many significant contributions to our organization, chief among them helping to build our cable portfolio into one of News Corporation's biggest growth drivers. We all owe Tony a debt of gratitude for everything he has done to get us to the enviable position we hold today.
We are fortunate to have in place a uniquely talented group of executives across FNG, so we are restructuring our operations to expand the portfolios of some of our key executives, giving them direct responsibility for developing their businesses.
Following Tony's departure, David Haslingden will become President and COO of the Fox Networks Group. David has done a great job growing our Fox International Channels business into a valuable asset and we have every confidence he will excel in shaping the future of FNG. He, along with David Hill, Chairman and CEO of Fox Sports Media Group; Peter Rice, Chairman Entertainment, FNG; and Mike Hopkins, President of Affiliate Sales and Marketing for Fox Cable, will all report to me going forward.
We all know it's a critical time for the networks business, with digital technologies upending long-held business models. We are facing these challenges from a position of great strength and now is the time for us to make some bets and take some risks... some intelligent risks. With this team of leaders in place at FNG, we are ready to do just that. Below is more detail on our new organization:
David Haslingden will have responsibility for all the corporate functions of FNG, including our strategic business development, finance, legal, advertising sales, networks engineering & operations and communications teams.
David Hill will gain oversight of our domestic joint venture with National Geographic Channels, bringing his production expertise to bear on this growing asset.
Randy Freer and Eric Shanks will work together to manage our sports cable channels portfolio, reporting to David Hill.
Peter Rice will continue in his current role running entertainment for FNG.
Mike Hopkins will continue heading affiliate sales and marketing for the cable channels. He will also be responsible for developing digital strategies for the networks of FNG, which will be a key issue for us in the coming quarters. In addition, he will gain oversight of network distribution at FBC. Jon Hookstratten will report to Mike.
Hernan Lopez will have sole day-to-day oversight of Fox International Channels, reporting to David Haslingden.
I look forward to working with this team and all of you as we enter this new year.