News Corp Australasia chairman Michael Miller and News Corp Australia chief executive Peter Tonagh formally began in their new positions today, following the retirement of former chief executive Julian Clarke on Friday.
Both Mr Miller and Mr Tonagh paid tribute to Mr Clarke in an email to staff this morning.
“Julian has been an inspirational leader to the company and to us both individually,” they said. “We know everyone joins us in thanking Julian for the immeasurable contribution he has made to our company over the past 32 years.”
The two executives also addressed the division of responsibilities under the new structure.
“We are aware that a lot of people are thinking the same questions about our appointments – who is going to be responsible for what, and how will you two work together day to day?” the statement said.
“The short answer is that we are going to be working very closely together at all times.
“We will jointly lead the strategic direction of the company, and will work alongside each other to develop and direct our company’s growth. The company’s Holt Street head office operations including finance, legal and corporate affairs, will report to us both.”
Mr Tonagh will have direct responsibility for News’ Australian publishing assets, while Mr Miller will lead expansion plans for other acquisitions and start-ups, including overseas. Mr Miller also will take on responsibility for the company’s investments in Foxtel, Fox Sports, REA and other joint ventures. Mr Tonagh will remain on the boards of Foxtel, Fox Sports and REA.
“Our skills and experience are complementary, and so we hope to provide a seamless, collaborative, partnership,” the two said.
While Mr Clarke formally handed over the reins on Friday, he will assist with the transition at Holt St for several weeks.
He said in an interview with The Australian that he felt positive about the partnership of Mr Miller and Mr Tonagh.
“I would feel not ready for retirement if I wasn’t supremely confident about who we’ve got running the business,” he said.
Mr Clarke also expressed confidence in the future of newspapers, saying the platform was the dominant media power in Australia and would remain so for years to come.