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Lachlan Murdoch assembles team to manage Fox after Disney deal

Lachlan Murdoch assembles team to manage Fox after Disney deal
Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, and his son Lachlan Murdoch, who will become chairman and CEO of Fox following the sale of key assets to Disney. (Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

21st Century Fox on Tuesday announced promotions for a handful of executives who will manage operations after the company sells the bulk of its entertainment assets to Walt Disney Co.

Rupert Murdoch’s oldest son, Lachlan, 47, will become chairman and chief executive of the company controlling the remaining assets, which will shed its “century” designation and go by the moniker Fox.

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Eric Shanks will become chief executive of Fox Sports. Shanks currently runs Fox Sports as its president. The sports unit, headquartered in Los Angeles, is expected to become the revenue driver after the Disney transaction. Fox is keeping the Fox broadcast network, a string of TV stations, two national sports channels, Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network.

Mike Biard will become president of operations and distribution for Fox, another key revenue function. His current title is president of distribution for the Fox Networks Group.

Paul Cheesbrough will remain chief technology officer, but his job will be expanded to include oversight of the company’s direct-to-consumer platforms in anticipation of launching a streaming service.

Marianne Gambelli will see her portfolio expand as she becomes president of ad sales. She manages ad sales for the Fox News Channel and the Fox Business Network.

Steve Tomsic, president for finance and deputy CFO, will become Fox’s chief financial officer.

“We are fortunate to be able to continue working with these enormously talented executives who have helped make our businesses the incredible successes they are today,” Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement. “Collectively they bring to Fox the vision, entrepreneurial spirit and proven track records to position Fox to seize future opportunities for its leading and deeply resonant brands across sports, news and entertainment.”

Tuesday’s announcement did not name an executive to run the Fox broadcast network. Gary Newman and Dana Walden share that responsibility, but Walden has been in talks to join Disney as head of ABC and ABC studios.

The appointments of the soon-to-be leadership team will take effect after the Disney transaction closes. Disney is buying Fox's television production and movie studio, FX cable channel, National Geographic, stake in Hulu and such international operations as TV giant Star in India.

Fox previously announced that Rupert Murdoch would largely give up his day-to-day role and that longtime deputy John Nallen would become chief operating officer. Suzanne Scott will continue as CEO of Fox News and Fox Business, and Jack Abernethy will remain CEO of the Fox TV station group. Longtime Fox board member Viet Dinh was recently named chief legal and policy officer.

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