Newsmaker: Bedi Ajay Singh

Last Updated: Fri, Dec 07, 2012 07:40 hrs

pEarlier this week Rupert Murdoch-controlled News Corp rejigged its top brass as it announced plans to split the company into two one to look after its publishing portfolio and the other for the media and entertainment unitppThe split has largely been driven by financial considerations Investors had been making a case for it for a long time now as the publishing arm which has newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal The Times London and The New York Times accounts for less than 10 per cent of the operating profits for the group The rest of the profits come from the company&rsquos entertainment holdings such as Fox broadcasting 20th Century Fox Film and STAR TVppIn this scenario the biggest challenge for Bedi Ajay Singh the new India-origin chief financial officer CFO of the publishing arm will be to ensure its survival independent of the media and entertainment unitppAnalysts believe Bedi&rsquos role will be even more crucial as Robert Thompson the chief executive officer CEO of the publishing business earlier the editor-in-chief at Dow Jones and managing editor at The Wall Street Journal has little experience of the financial side of the businessppBedi on the other hand has been a finance person through and through He was most recently serving as co-CEO and president &mdash finance and administration &mdash and chief financial officer for MGM Studios a US-based media company mostly involved in film production and distributionppIn his new role in addition to the group&rsquos newspapers Bedi will oversee the finances of the group&rsquos Australian assets which include TV stations and newspapers in Australia book publisher Harper Collins and an education divisionppA fellow of the UK Institute of Chartered Accountants and a graduate from the London School of Economics Singh comes with over 32 years of experience having started his career with Arthur Andersen in UK in 1980ppIn 1991 he joined News International News Corp&rsquos UK subsidiary After four years he was moved to Murdoch&rsquos Los Angeles office as senior vice-president He also worked as strategic planning and deputy CFO at 20th Century FoxppBedi left the group in 1999 to join Sony Pictures Entertainment as executive vice-president and CFO He also worked with Novartis as chief financial and administrative officer and with Gemstar-TV Guide as executive vice-president and CFO In 2008 he shifted to MGM StudiosppAs proposed News Corp is splitting into two publicly-traded companies with Murdoch as the chairman of both While announcing the structure Murdoch had said &ldquoWe will build on our traditional mission to inform entertain and enhance the lives of readers and viewers around the world and relentlessly drive global growth by promoting excellence and investing in our businesses&rdquoppThe challenges facing Murdoch&rsquos media industry are immense In addition to the financial problems the publishing business is also mired in ethical and legal issues There was the phone-tapping scandal in the UK The incident also shook shareholders&rsquo confidence in the company and many of them wanted a change at the topp

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