Sydney: Rupert Murdoch said on Wednesday he will take
over as chairman of his Australian arm News Limited with
current chairman and chief executive John Hartigan stepping
In a major shake-up at the top, Hartigan will leave after
Murdoch, 80, will replace him as chairman with Kim
Williams, currently head of Foxtel, a News Corp joint venture
that is Australia`s largest pay television company, taking on
Hartigan`s chief executive duties.
Williams` job at Foxtel goes to Richard Freudenstein, the
chief executive of The Australian newspaper.
No reason was given for Hartigan`s departure although he
turns 64 next week. Murdoch paid tribute to his long-time
"John`s decision ends a distinguished 41-year career with
News in which he has given us exemplary service and incredible
leadership," said Murdoch, who is currently in Australia, in a
"John has been an outstanding reporter, an editor with few
peers and an inspiring executive. Few people have contributed
as much as John to the quality of journalism in Australia."
Hartigan joined the company in Sydney in 1970 as a
reporter on The Daily Mirror, later to become The Daily
Telegraph, before working on The Sun in London and the New
After returning to Australia, he became editor of
Queensland`s Sunday Sun before working his way up the ladder
to become News Limited`s chief executive in 2000.
While Murdoch`s Australian arm was not linked to the phone
hacking scandal in Britain that rattled his empire, Hartigan
came under pressure from the Australian government, which said
the company faced some "hard questions".