OLD Media Moves

Dow Jones CEO Zannino is the man in the middle

May 14, 2007

Posted by Chris Roush

The Wall Street Journal’s Sarah Ellison writes Monday about Dow Jones & Co. CEO Richard Zannino, who is stuck between the Bancroft family that controls the company and News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, who wants to buy the parent company of The Journal, Barron’s and Marketwatch for $5 billion.

Richard ZanninoZannino, who has been CEO for 15 months, stresses that he has no position on the offer.

Ellison wrote, “Also, despite numerous initiatives — including the launch of a weekend paper on Saturday and the purchase of the financial-news site MarketWatch, both moves Mr. Zannino championed before he became CEO — Dow Jones’s stock price was stuck in a narrow range before Mr. Murdoch came along. Mr. Zannino is quick to point out, though, that shareholder return in 2006 was 10% including dividends, a good showing given the lackluster performance of newspaper publishers.

“A relative newcomer to the media business, Mr. Zannino had made a habit of meeting with other media executives to discuss the industry. He reasons that the landscape for delivering information is shifting dramatically, and he wants Dow Jones to be attuned to the changes. ‘We are a relatively small company. We can’t be insular,’ he says. ‘We can’t see ourselves narrowly.’ (In addition to the Journal and MarketWatch, Dow Jones owns Factiva, Dow Jones Newswires, Barron’s, the Far Eastern Economic Review, Dow Jones Indexes and the Ottaway group of community newspapers.)

“Some meetings have borne fruit: A session with Barry Diller of IAC Corp. resulted in a joint venture. Getting to know Tom Glocer, the CEO of Reuters Group PLC, helped Dow Jones take full ownership of Factiva, an information service the company prizes highly.”

Read more here.

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