News Corp. has named Lex Fenwick CEO of Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal. Fenwick joins Dow Jones after 25 years at Bloomberg, where he served most recently as CEO of Bloomberg Ventures.
He succeeds Les Hinton, who left the company in July amid the News Corp. phone hacking scandal. Fenwick will be based in New York and report to Chase Carey, president-COO of News Corp.
“We have clearly established WSJ as the premium consumer newspaper, and we are thrilled that Lex will be driving our plans to grow all our Dow Jones franchises into true innovative market leaders for today's digital world,” Rupert Murdoch, News Corp. chairman-CEO, said in a statement. “We believe our enterprise business has the potential to follow the brand's success in the consumer space, and be the premier product in providing the kind of hard-to-find, premium content that the financial customer demands. We are committed to making it happen, and we think Lex is the executive to get us there.”
Ken Doctor, affiliate analyst for Oustell Inc., said the hiring of Fenwick is another strategic move in the ongoing battle between Dow Jones, Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters for business news supremacy. These three companies are among the main competitors in a continuum of business information that stretches from advertising-supported consumer business news to premium subscription products.
In this business information struggle, Dow Jones is a leader in consumer business information with its Wall Street Journal Digital Network, which includes AllThingsD, Barrons.com, Marketwatch.com and WSJ.com. With its revitalization of Bloomberg Businessweek, Bloomberg has made a big move to bolster its position in advertising-supported consumer business information.
Bloomberg, with its terminals business, is a dominant player in the subscription business information sector. By hiring Fenwick, with his Bloomberg background, Dow Jones is looking to strengthen the position of its Factiva business and other b-to-b offerings, such as Dow Jones Newswires, Doctor said. “He may be being brought in to see where does Factiva fit into Dow Jones in the long term,” he said.
Others have speculated that the hiring of Fenwick, who is not a News Corp. insider, is a means of distancing the company from the phone hacking scandal in the U.K.
In a statement, Fenwick said: “I'm honored and excited to join Dow Jones at such a transformational time. The people, brands and franchises give us a wonderful opportunity to grow and develop new elements that we hope will reap rewards in the future. Over 25 years at Bloomberg I have made many friends, learned an enormous amount, witnessed wonderful success and—above all else—experienced incredible loyalty. I am proud of what we built together.”
“Having had great success in his previous incarnation, Lex has a sense of the enormous potential of Dow Jones and the people of Dow Jones,” Robert Thomson, editor in chief of Dow Jones, said in a statement about Fenwick. “He has a genuine feel for the character of contemporary content and its value, and this instinct and insight and drive will be the stuff of our future prosperity.”