News Corp announced tonight that Tom Mockridge, who has served as CEO of News International since July 2011, will leave the company at the end of the year. Wall Street Journal Managing Editor Robert Thomson is in line to head the News Corp publishing unit when it is spun off from the company’s entertainment operations, so Mockridge’s decision is not surprising. Thompson’s appointment as CEO of the new division is expected to be announced this week along with promotion of his Journal deputy Gerard Baker to managing editor as his replacement. News Corp Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch praised Mockridge as “a skilled executive and a trusted friend. His decision to step down is absolutely and entirely his own. I am sorry to see him leave us but I know he will be a great success wherever he goes.”
This is a story that the Wall Street Journal had better have right: The paper reports this morning that its managing editor, Robert Thomson, will become CEO of the still-unnamed publishing company that News Corp will create next year in a spin off. Next week the company plans to announce Thomson’s appointment and the elevation of his deputy, Gerard Baker, to replace him as managing editor of the Journal, the paper says citing “people familiar with the matter.” The company also may announce other senior appointments and board members, as well as a name for the publishing company, but final decisions haven’t been made. CEO Rupert Murdoch said in October that he would announce the leadership plans by year-end.