Lex Fenwick is stepping down
as CEO of Dow Jones, publisher of The Wall Street Journal
, owner News Corp. announced late Tuesday. No successor was named. William Lewis, an executive from News Corp.’s British
operations, will serve as interim CEO while the company searches for a permanent replacement.
Although News Corp. execs didn’t reveal the precise reasons for Fenwick’s
departure after a relatively short tenure of under two years, media watchers speculate the decision comes amid rethinking the business model behind the company’s business newswires product, DJX,
which as positioned as an alternative to Bloomberg’s widely used subscription-based financial information service.
Fenwick, a former Bloomberg executive, seemed the ideal choice to
lead the initiative when it was launched last year.
But it appears some financial-sector clients balked at paying more for information they weren’t necessarily going to use,
demanding more flexible “a la carte” access and pricing structures for the service. To that end, Thomson promised “improvements,” including “greater flexibility” in
DJX and related products, although he provided few concrete details.
Changes are already afoot in Dow Jones’ editorial operations.
In an internal memo to Wall
employees, Dow Jones Editor in Chief Gerard Baker pointed to the creation of a new Real-Time News Desk as an integral part of the newspaper’s New York newsroom, signaling a
shift to a “digital-first news operation” distributing content across the Newswires, WSJ.com, mobile platforms and social media.
Baker sketched out a vision in which
“the editors on the real-time desk, veterans of DJN and the Journal
, will work closely with subject desks, coverage chiefs and bureaus to quickly produce content and edit breaking and
other time-sensitive news. The unified desk will serve a wide range of our digital needs -- from headlines on breaking news, to sidebar explanatory pieces, to presentation of online features and
beyond.” Baker said the real-time division will help all editorial staff improve their real-time output.