When Senior Execs Leave, Do Media Companies Get Lost?

Let's play the expected guessing game for Peter Chernin's departure from News Corp: Was he pushed? Is he leaving calmingly and voluntarily? Or, has he just had enough?

Surely a troubling economy has a lot to do with it, forcing some sort of decision. News Corp.'s stock has suffered, but so has that of virtually every media company, big and small.

It's hard to argue about performance. Fox television network has been at the top of its game for a number of years. The Fox News Channel continues to rake in big profits and revenue.

Under Chernin's watch, News Corp. made a key and lucrative acquisition of MySpace - at somewhat bargain basement prices, apparently. Only its Fox movie studio has had its up and downs - but not any more than other movie operations.

Wall Street liked Chernin because of his steady, calming hand -- especially around Rupert Murdoch's big personality. For a long time all this seemed to suggest that as good as Chernin was, he was headed for the top job.  
But that isn't the case. Succession has been an issue with News Corp. -- because aren't media companies, after all, just big kingdoms in our lives? The succession of senior executives is what gives warm feelings to Wall Street, especially now that  77-year-old Murdoch is back in charge.



It now seems more likely that Rupert's son -- James Murdoch, who runs News Corp's Europe and Asia operations -- will eventually get the nod.

So now what?  Murdoch wants to take the reigns again -- at least for a little while.

Another big media mogul a few years older than Murdoch -- Sumner Redstone --  also seems to have a tough time letting go.

Each mogul has his own problems: Murdoch with depressing local TV stations and his much beloved newspaper business; Redstone with his always quickly-shifting MTV business.

What's needed? New leadership, new ideas, or just a new economic time?

2 comments about "When Senior Execs Leave, Do Media Companies Get Lost? ".
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  1. John Lee from JFL Media Solutions, February 24, 2009 at 4:43 p.m.

    It is truly unfortunate that a seasoned media executive like Peter Chernin is not recognized for his artful ability to lead News Corp. in the manner that he has demonstrated. It is also unfortunate that the short-term success of the company will be impaired by the sticky fingerprints of Rupert Murdoch. The same can be said for Mr. Redstone...when is enough really enough?

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, February 24, 2009 at 6:02 p.m.

    It's also about letting go. You know the stories about the older person who won't move out of their home in disrepair, can't take care of themselves and are running out of money. It's their life and no one is going to tell them what to do. This is sad for these people and very dangerous. As for the moguls, not letting go is on steroids. Plus, the more there is to manage and the more complicated, the more help one needs, not less. Media is getting more complicated with more to manage regularly. This does not forebode well.

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