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Dow Jones chief executive Will Lewis to depart

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Via Financial Times

Will Lewis is stepping down as chief executive of Dow Jones after six years at the helm of the Rupert Murdoch-owned publisher. 

According to people with knowledge of the decision, the British media executive is leaving “amicably” from the company, which publishes the Wall Street Journal.

Mr Lewis did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but after the FT first reported his departure, he issued a statement saying it was “time to move on”, while thanking Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch for “their support over the years”. 

News Corp, which owns Dow Jones, said a successor to Mr Lewis would be announced in the “coming weeks”. 

“We will miss him, but we respect his decision to be in London full time with his family,” said Robert Thomson, News Corp chief executive. 

Mr Lewis has held the top job at the financial news and data group since 2014, where he has also served as publisher of the Wall Street Journal, guiding the newspaper through an industry-wide shift towards online readership.

Dow Jones, which includes a news wire and Barron’s magazine, has reached 3.5m digital subscribers, including 2m for the Wall Street Journal, the company reported in February. 

The 51-year-old has an extensive background in journalism, having worked for the Financial Times from the 1990s, rising to the position of news editor in London. He joined the Murdoch-owned Sunday Times in 2002 as business editor and then moved to the Daily Telegraph, where in 2006 he became the youngest editor-in-chief. He oversaw the newspaper’s investigation into the parliamentary expenses of British MPs.

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He rejoined the Murdoch family-owned newspapers in 2010 as the general manager of News Group International, leading the newspaper unit’s internal probe into the phone-hacking scandal. 

Dow Jones, which Mr Murdoch bought for $5.7bn in 2007, has been adapting to the decline in print media by shifting towards online subscriptions.

In an interview with the New York Times in 2016, Mr Lewis said chief executives should be thinking like an “agitator in chief”. “You constantly think about the next iteration of the model and structure,” he said.

Mr Thomson said in February that Dow Jones had increased revenues by 4 per cent in the most recent quarter, as digital subscriptions grew by 17 per cent, reflecting the “growing appetite for factual, fair and deeply reported journalism”.

On word of his departure, one senior newspaper executive suggested Mr Lewis could consider putting his hat in the ring for the vacant director-general’s job at the BBC.

“It would be a clever move by the BBC,” the executive said. “Will has good contacts within the UK government and was Boris [Johnson’s] former editor [at the Telegraph].”

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