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News Corp taps Bloomberg executive to lead Dow Jones

By Yinka Adegoke

(Reuters) - Rupert Murdoch's News Corp on Thursday named Bloomberg LP executive Lex Fenwick as chief executive officer of its Dow Jones & Co unit which houses its Wall Street Journal newspaper.

Fenwick, a 25-year Bloomberg veteran, will join Dow Jones on February 13 and report to News Corp President Chase Carey.

He replaces Les Hinton, a 52-year News Corp veteran, who left the company last July in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal at the UK newspaper division he previously oversaw.

Dow Jones has been run by President Todd Larsen since Hinton left. Larsen will remain with the company.

Fenwick replaced Bloomberg founder Michael Bloomberg as chief executive of the business in 2001. More recently he has been CEO of Bloomberg Ventures, a venture capital unit he founded in July 2008.

Unlike his predecessor, Fenwick has limited executive experience in the newspaper publishing business. In fact Dow Jones does not currently have any executive who is titled "publisher." Hinton took on that title back in 2008 but Fenwick is not titled publisher of The Wall Street Journal.

News Corp hopes to tap in to his expertise with financial markets services to fully exploit its suite of financial data products.

Dow Jones' enterprise unit includes the Dow Jones Newswires, DJ FX Trade, Factiva information and Dow Jones VentureSource database.

"We believe our enterprise business has the potential to follow the brand's success in the consumer space, and be the premier product in providing the kind of hard-to-find, premium content that the financial customer demands," Murdoch said in a statement.

As chief executive of Bloomberg, Fenwick helped build market share in the financial terminals business. One analyst, however, said it is unlikely in the short term that News Corp would have much chance of trying to enter that extremely competitive market.

"There's definitely an opportunity in the long term if they wanted to go down that road," said Morningstar Inc analyst Swami Shanmugasundaram.

Murdoch paid $5.6 billion for Dow Jones in 2007, with his eye firmly set on The Wall Street Journal as the big prize. But in 2009 News Corp was forced to write down the asset by $2.8 billion.

News Corp has been reeling from the aftershocks of the phone hacking scandal which has led to the arrests or resignations of some 20 executives and journalists, and led to the closure of British weekly tabloid News of the World.

Hinton, a close associate of Murdoch, was one of several key executives who have been forced to step down since last July when the scandal erupted.

Hinton told a UK parliamentary inquiry in 2009 that any problem with phone hacking at the company's papers was limited to one case. It was later revealed that thousands of ordinary people and celebrities had been the victims of the voice mail hacking.

The News International unit he oversaw is currently undergoing an internal investigation in London as Murdoch attempts to clean up the reputation of the UK newspaper titles which has threatened the stability of the $50 billion conglomerate.

The Management and Standards Committee investigation, which is chaired by London lawyer Anthony Grabiner, has ruffled feathers with some UK-based News International staff who feel they have been made scapegoats by their New York-based counterparts.

Dow Jones and Bloomberg LP are both direct competitors of Thomson Reuters Corp.

(Reporting By Yinka Adegoke in New York; editing by Mark Porter and Matthew Lewis)

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