By William Launder
News Corp. (NWS, NWSA) unveiled a new structure to oversee the company's ethical practices Wednesday, part of its efforts to address concerns that intensified after a phone-hacking scandal erupted at its U.K. newspaper division last year.
The new measures were announced in an email to staff by News Corp. Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch. News Corp. owns Dow Jones & Co., publisher of this newswire and The Wall Street Journal.
The company has named Gerson Zweifach, senior executive vice president and group general counsel, as its chief compliance officer. Lisa Fleischman, vice president and associate general counsel, will become deputy compliance officer.
News Corp. also has organized its businesses into five compliance groups, which will be led by a group chief compliance officer who reports to Mr. Zweifach. The groups include the L.A. cable and broadcast group; the L.A. film and TV production group; the Europe and Asia group; the Australia group; and the New York news and information group.
The organizational measures come as News Corp. prepares to spin-off its publishing assets from its media and entertainment assets.
"Strengthening our compliance programs will take time and resources, but the costs of non-compliance--in terms of reputational harm, investigations, lawsuits, and distraction from our mission to deliver on our promise to consumers--are far more serious," Mr. Murdoch said.
In the email, Mr. Murdoch added that News Corp. has initiated a review of anti-corruption controls in select locations around the globe. The purpose of the review is to test current internal controls and identify ways in which to enhance them, he said.
"Let me emphasize that the review is not based on any suspicion of wrongdoing by any particular business unit or its personnel," Mr. Murdoch wrote. "Rather, it is a forward-looking review based on our commitment to improve anti-corruption controls throughout the company."
Mr. Murdoch and other top executives at the company have faced intense scrutiny in the U.K. as a result of the phone-hacking scandal, which led News Corp. to shutter its News of the World tabloid. Earlier this year, a U.K. Parliamentary committee declared Mr. Murdoch unfit to run a major global company.
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