Big change on the TV side of News Corp. – Tony Vinciquerra, chairman and CEO of Fox Networks Group, is leaving the company after 10 years, he just announced to the staff (his email is below). In a separate memo, also posted below, News Corp. president and COO Chase Carey lays out Fox’s new hierarchy, with David Haslingden, CEO of Fox International Channels, now being named president and COO of the Fox Networks Group. But in the new reporting structure, the layer that Vinciquerra held is being eliminated, with his current reports Haslingden; 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, now all reporting to Carey.
In the past couple of years, Vinciquerra emerged as Fox’s top TV deal-maker, spearheading tough carriage negotiations with Time Warner Cable, Cablevision and DISH that netted the company millions in retransmission consent fees and created a template for other broadcast networks. As chairman and CEO of Fox Networks Group, Vinciquerra oversaw Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox Cable Networks – FX, National Geographic Channel and NatGeo WILD, Fox Movie Channel, FUEL TV, 19 O&O regional sports networks, SPEED, Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Soccer Plus, Fox College Sports, FOX Deportes, and the Big Ten Network – as well as Fox International Channels, which reach 350 million subscribers worldwide. Under him, Fox’s cable networks became a key contributor to News Corp.’s bottom line and last quarter were responsible for 50% of the company’s profits.
Vinciquerra’s rise within Fox peaked in the spring of 2009 when, as part of the company-wide reorganization following the exit of Peter Chernin as News Corp. president and COO (Chernin was the person who had brought him to Fox), Vinciquerra was given oversight of the entire portfolio of Fox networks – broadcast and cable, domestic and international, reporting to Rupert Murdoch. Then in July of that year, Chase Carey was named president and COO of News Corp., and Vinciquerra began reporting to him. Several months later, Fox Entertainment chairman’s Peter Rice’s duties were expanded to oversee programming for the broadcast network as well as FX, something Vinicquerra had been doing. The move raised speculation about a possible exit by Vinciquerra. Last year, he was approached by Comcast’s Steve Burke about possibly joining the merged Comcast-NBCU TV operations.
Vinciquerra said he first considered leaving in July but decided to put off the move with two big retrans negotiations looming – one with Cablevision and one with DISH. With those resolved, he said he approached Carey with a request to be released early from his contract around Thanksgiving, and the two spent the past couple month ironing out the company’s succession plan. Vinciquerra will stay on until Feb. 11 to help with the transition. One of his last duties will be attending the Feb. 6 Super Bowl, which is carried by Fox this year, where he will introduce the new Fox Networks Group executive team to buyers and other key attendees. As for the future, Vinciquerra said he had already been approached by several private equity firms and other companies. As for NBCU, that door closed long time ago as it involved a move to New York, said Vinciquerra, who plans to stay in Los Angeles with his family. He also intends to pursue his passion for broadband. (Vinciquerra is a member of the Board of Motorola). “I’ve been fascinated to watch what’s been going on in the communication business,” he said, adding that he has been studying how electricity changed the world. “I see a lot of parallels to broadband, and I feel it’s time to step back and study that on the public or private side. It’s going to have a revolutionary effect.”
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