23rd Jan 2014

A challenging first 100 days ahead for the new interim CEO at Dow Jones

Dow Jones has handed the interim CEO role to William Lewis, the former Editor-in-Chief of Telegraph Media Group in the UK, following the announcement on Tuesday that Lex Fenwick will be stepping down immediately as CEO. The company, whose flagship publication is the Wall Street Journal and is owned by News Corp, will embark on a period of “institutional strategy review” over the coming months. Lewis is tasked with holding the fort until a permanent replacement for Fenwick is identified.

Lewis joined News Corp in 2010 as Group General Manager of News International and was subsequently appointed Chief Creative Officer of News Corp in early 2013. Although Lewis is new to the Chief Exec seat, he is no stranger to leadership positions. He has held a number of roles from which he will have gained invaluable experience including Business Editor of the Sunday Times in the UK, Global News Editor of the Financial Times and Editor-in-Chief of the Telegraph Media Group in the UK, where he was regularly in the spotlight. The review of Dow Jones will see Lewis focusing on improvements for business clients, largely through the company’s DJX arm. In addition, according to Tuesday’s press release from News Corp CEO Robert Thompson, Dow Jones will be “redoubling our efforts to the develop The Wall Street Journal and its digital properties globally”. Lewis will no doubt embrace this new role. His time at the Telegraph will stand to him, given that he is credited with hauling the organisation into the digital era. The duration of his term as Interim CEO is not clear and as a consequence, his first 100 days in role will be all the more intense. So what are we likely to see from Lewis? In News Corp's press releases this week we have heard Lewis (and Thompson) communicate the company vision. In this time of uncertainty, Lewis will need to continue communicating this vision both inside and outside of the company, as well as his own vision on how this can be achieved. Most importantly at this early juncture, he will need to ensure that he leaves his role of Chief Creative Officer behind him in order to fully take on this interim role. Finally, he will need to have a robust strategic plan in place for his first 100 days in order to ensure that Dow Jones has favourable revenue results in the first and second quarter. We watch with interest, as does the world media!

Colm Flood



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