Dow Jones & Co. Chief Executive Officer Lex Fenwick was ousted from the News Corp. (NWS) division after less than two years on the job, following the tepid reception to a high-end subscription service he championed, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
Dow Jones will replace Fenwick on an interim basis with William Lewis, New York-based News Corp. said yesterday in a statement. The company is now reviewing its strategy and planning changes for the DJX service, which debuted last year, according to the statement. That may include making the product more flexible, rather than selling it as an all-in-one bundle.
DJX, aimed at executives and Wall Street traders, combines a wide range of Dow Jones products -- including the Wall Street Journal, Factiva and Barron’s -- into a single subscription. Customers who were accustomed to cherry-picking individual services weren’t attracted to the new product, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.
“We’re reviewing the institutional strategy of Dow Jones with an eye towards changes that will deliver even more value to its customers,” Robert Thomson, CEO of New York-based News Corp., said in yesterday’s statement. “As part of that, we’re planning improvements to DJX.”
Jim Kennedy, a spokesman for the company, declined to comment further. Fenwick didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment. Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, competes with News Corp. in providing financial news and information.
News Corp. faces mounting pressure to boost revenue following its split last year from Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. (FOXA), the more lucrative piece of Rupert Murdoch’s six-decade-old media empire. In November, News Corp. posted a 2.8 percent decline in fiscal first-quarter revenue, hurt by sluggish demand for print advertising. The transition to the DJX service also had a “modest negative impact” on revenue in the period, News Corp. Chief Financial Officer Bedi Ajay Singh said in a conference call at the time.
Fenwick joined Dow Jones in February 2012, replacing Les Hinton. He previously worked at Bloomberg, where most recently he had been CEO of Bloomberg Ventures.
Lewis, who was chief creative officer of News Corp., previously served as editor-in-chief of Telegraph Media Group. He joined News Corp. in 2010.
News Corp.’s Class A shares fell 1.9 percent to $16.76 yesterday at the New York close, before the announcement. They have gained 6.1 percent since the spinoff.
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