Kim Williams has resigned as News Corp Australia boss, to be replaced by The Herald and Weekly Times chairman Julian Clarke.
Speculation about Williams' future had intensified in recent days after the arrival of Rupert Murdoch's lieutenant Col Allan.
Williams had been at the helm of one of Australia's largest media companies for less than two years.
He has been credited with overseeing News Corp's wide-scale restructure last year as the company strived to boost its digital strategy. He was the head of Foxtel for 10 years previously.
Murdoch said: “I want to sincerely thank Kim, first for his nearly two decades of service to News Corp; but more importantly, for his loyalty and friendship to me and my family all of these years.
“Kim has been a steady and courageous leader at a time when your businesses have faced unprecedented pressure and economic challenges. I want to thank him for his unwavering commitment, and the blood, sweat and tears he has put into News Corp Australia.”
Of Clarke's appointment, News Corp chief executive Robert Thompson said: Julian has vast experience, sublime leadership skills and a profound understanding of the news business. Combined with our deep digital and broadcast bench, his appointment positions us exclusively for the next phase of development in an era of great upheaval in the media business.”
Clarke will start on Monday 12 August.
Williams sent the below email to staff this morning:
I attach the media statement about my departure from News Corp which will be effective from this weekend.
An action like this is always taken with a heavy heart and a mixed bag of feelings and reflections on a wide range of experiences with News Corp across almost 20 years. It is certainly not a decision made lightly, or without an awareness of the impact decisions like this inevitably have on many close colleagues, clients and diverse bodies within the media community.
I started with News Corp back in 1995 and have worked with the company ever since in three roles â€“ as CEO at FOX Studios Australia, CEO of FOXTEL and as CEO at News Corp Australia. Each role has offered a diversity of challenges and wonderful opportunities. I have enjoyed the responsibility and have been honoured to work with many extraordinarily talented people.
Whilst the leadership roles and the issues encountered have at times been frankly really confronting, it has been a source of perpetual renewal and reinforcement to have worked with so many terrific colleagues both here and internationally. It is the people that one remembers the most. I will be forever grateful to those who have been so helpful and constructively supportive in the many matters we have mutually confronted. There have been many good wins matched with some memorable awful problems and opponents! It has all been the stuff of a rich and varied professional life that I would never have had without the benefit of the trust reposed in me by many great colleagues at News Corp.
I wish Rupert Murdoch, Robert Thomson, their new management team in the new News Corp and all my international colleagues nothing but the best continued success with the product and commercial rewards that their efforts so richly deserve. I am genuinely in awe at the range and depth of talent in the company here and in the international arena and have great confidence in the future and all that it holds for the new enterprise.
Finally, I thank all my Australian colleagues for their support, understanding and commitment to the company, its products and customers over a long time. There are far too many people to single any one out â€“ you all know who you are and what we have shared together!
With my warmest and best wishes to you all in continuing to meet the challenges of change to achieve a great future individually and corporately.
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