OLD Media Moves

Dow Jones CEO Lewis explains restructuring

January 5, 2016

Posted by Chris Roush

William LewisHere is the note that Dow Jones CEO William Lewis sent to the staff on Tuesday:

Dear colleague,

I am pleased to announce some important structural changes to Dow Jones. These developments build on the excellent work already done over the past 18 months and will provide the platform the company needs to achieve our shared objectives.

Inspired by our goals for growth in Dow Jones subscribers and our Professional Information Business, the key developments include:

Renewed and dedicated focus on our flagship – The Wall Street Journal.

A strong, focused PIB leadership structure.

A new Dow Jones publishing unit – Dow Jones Media Group – providing autonomy for brands like Barron’s and, where appropriate, new products.

An expanded Customer Group designed to deliver collaborative working.

A new Operations Group, delivering and driving effective processes across Dow Jones, enabling us to manage our costs even better. The group will also oversee other critical functions such as production, legal and facilities.

First, I want to reflect on what we have achieved together thus far thanks to your sterling efforts. The last calendar year saw us take major strides forward, generating real momentum in terms of customer engagement and product development, particularly in mobile.

We formed and expanded our Customer Group, under the leadership of Katie Vanneck-Smith. Our focus on our customers has never been sharper as we drive towards our goal of three million subscribers across Dow Jones.

And we established our exciting Innovation Unit – a lean and agile ideas factory managed by our leading mobile evangelist, Edward Roussel. The speed with which Ed’s team launched the brilliant WSJ City app to serve the London market was one of our major achievements in 2015.

These changes have prepared the ground for our business – ground that now shows real evidence of the green shoots of growth, thanks to your hard work.

Our flagship – The Wall Street Journal – produced a punchy print advertising performance in a tough market. Digital ads grew, with mobile on the rise.

Our custom content offering and WSJ. Magazine were commercial stars for us.

Subscription volumes were positive, thanks to shrewd and slick marketing, keen customer retention efforts and, of course, Pulitzer Prize-winning stories.

We reaffirmed our belief in the power of print by launching a global print edition of The Wall Street Journal, serving the most important financial centers across Europe and Asia with the quality of content we provide our US audience every day.

The stabilization and gearing for growth of our Professional Information Business is an achievement of which our company should be genuinely proud.

We started the year with net positive installs for PIB products – a cause for celebration and the sort of robust growth we identified as a core corporate goal.

With our products we charged ahead – innovating and delivering at pace. Standout offerings include the What’s News app, WSJ City and the launch of WSJ Pro, focused first on central banking and moving on to other verticals soon.

Our partnerships strategy strode forward in step with our mission to make our content more valuable by distributing it in ever more imaginative ways.

We have built relationships with technology companies, based on the understanding that we create much-coveted premium content worthy of an appropriate price tag. We are happy to share content and we remain flexible and diversified – MarketWatch, for example, operates a free-to-air advertising model. But at our core we are a subscriptions business.

None of the fruits of your labors touched on above would have been possible without a rigorous approach to cost management – another of our core goals.

We must continue to monitor expenditure carefully so we can devote resources to the innovative projects that will fuel our growth. I would like to thank everyone for your efforts in this respect.

So much for 2015. What about 2016? We need to build on our recent success to ensure we are positioned for growth – and this requires some structural change.

The reforms detailed below furnish Dow Jones with three distinct business groups, underpinned by an efficient and agile operations function. The new PIB team and the Dow Jones Media Group are two. The first is, of course, WSJ – our marquee brand and premium asset.


Our dedicated and focused WSJ leadership team will drive our existing business, while developing our paywall and membership strategies – as well as creating new franchise brands and businesses.

The WSJ team is led by Gerry Baker, our Editor-in-Chief, and Paul Gigot, the steward of our world-class editorial pages. The Journal’s newsroom is a powerhouse. It delivered eight out of 10 of the year’s biggest M&A scoops – a fantastic journalistic achievement.

Trevor Fellows heads up advertising sales, reporting to me. Jonathan Wright is our International Managing Director, responsible for growth outside the US and reporting to Katie Vanneck-Smith.

Suzi Watford is our Chief Marketing Officer. Suzi also reports to Katie and leads our efforts to become a truly membership driven business. WSJ Pro now also reports into Suzi.

Professional Information Business leadership

I am pleased to announce that I have appointed Chris Lloyd as Head of PIB, reporting to Katie Vanneck-Smith, to help establish and strengthen a new structure for professional information.

Three General Managers for PIB will report directly into Chris, along with Ingrid Verschuren, who becomes Deputy Head of PIB while retaining her responsibilities as SVP, Data Strategy. Kate Morgan, VP for Transformation, PIB, will also report to Chris.

Dow Jones Media Group

I am delighted to appoint Almar Latour as Publisher of our new Dow Jones Media Group, reporting into Katie Vanneck-Smith. The group will focus on consumer and business brands outside WSJ. Ken Breen will support Almar, spearheading commercial endeavors.

The aim is to replicate the successful Barron’s formula, which has thrived in an autonomous environment. Barron’s is joined in the new unit by MarketWatch, Financial News, Mansion Global and Newsmart. New products, incubated in our Innovation Unit, may also be housed within the DJ Media Group, depending on content, commercial and branding considerations.

Each major business within the unit will have an accountable General Manager. The unit will also assume an increased role in video and will lead on collaboration projects with News Corp.

Customer Group

As detailed above, PIB under a fresh leadership structure and the newly formed Dow Jones Media Group will operate within our expanded Customer Group.

In addition, I am pleased to announce that the Customer Group now incorporates the Strategy function, led by Tracy Corrigan, reporting into Katie Vanneck-Smith. Strategy will include the Customer Knowledge and Insight team and a newly formed Commercial Policy and Pricing unit, led by Dan Smith.

The rest of the Customer Group includes WSJ Membership, Partnerships, Customer Experience, International and Corporate Sales and Marketing. Heading up the latter is Nancy McNeill, EVP Corporate Sales and Marketing. Nancy will continue to report into Katie Vanneck-Smith, building a single, efficient Corporate Sales and Marketing function to develop deeper relationships with our top 250 clients.

Operations Group

It gives me great pleasure to promote Anna Sedgley, our Chief Financial Officer, to head up a new, consolidated Operations Group.
Along with her CFO responsibilities, Anna will assume oversight of key functions such as newspaper production and delivery, legal and risk management services, as well as facilities and security.

Joe Vincent, who as SVP Operations is our print and distribution mastermind, and Frank Filippo, Senior Vice President for Business Operations, will both report directly to Anna. In addition, Jay Conti steps up as interim General Counsel, also reporting to Anna.

Dow Jones Executive Leadership Team

We have a lot to achieve and focus on in 2016 so I have decided to expand and enhance the Dow Jones ELT to ensure we collaborate across the business with pace, purpose and passion.

The ELT will harness the energy and talent we possess at Dow Jones and use it to power our future growth. It brings together key senior leaders from across the business to help us make smarter, sharper decisions and – crucially – creates two-way communication channels to all parts of Dow Jones.

The ELT will meet weekly to discuss, in rotation, WSJ, PIB, DJ Media Group and Operations.

Click here for a list of the ELT members.

Finally, while the changes I have detailed above are important, we must all remember that we are here to serve our readers and clients. Nothing is more important than our customers.

What we strive to achieve every day at Dow Jones and at The Wall Street Journal is of profound social and commercial value.

So, thank you for all your efforts and please join me in thanking those I have asked to take on new responsibilities.

If you have any questions or thoughts about the changes I have outlined above, please do not hesitate to email me directly.

Here’s to a happy, healthy and prosperous 2016.

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