The news is not surprising since he’d been unhappy at the company for some time and had been a leading candidate for the Yahoo CEO job. “While my time spent has been productive, it feels like the right time to exit,” Jon Miller said in a statement. “I look forward to pursuing new ventures that will lead me back into an operational role.” The company announced today that Miller will leave his post at the end of September as News Corp is about to split into two companies: one entertainment, one publishing. Miller will bean outside advisor to News Corp on digital issues through fall 2013.
Though widely liked and respected, Miller has been News Corp’s Chief Digital Officer since 2009 and unfortunately witnessed Rupert Murdoch pursue mostly unsuccessful new digital initiatives. Miller was News Corp’s key man for repeated efforts to sell Hulu and the point person in wrangling the bids, but those are now on hold. He also presided over The Daily which has proved to be Rupert’s folly and a very public failure and embarrassment that recently slashed staff by a third. Miller also saw the steep decline of MySpace which was the hottest social networking service online when News Corp purchased it in 2005 for $580M. Then it was overtaken by Facebook in 2008 so staff layoffs and multiple redesigns ensued. Finally News Corp unloaded MySpace in 2011 for just $35M.
Despite Murdoch’s best efforts to screw it up, Miller greatly smoothed the internal synergy and external relationships for News Corp’s digital strategy. “During his tenure, Mr. Miller revamped News Corporation’s digital strategy as the Company transitioned away from standalone owned-and-operated web properties and refocused on digital content distribution and the monetization of its existing brands on emerging platforms,” said a News Corp statement today. “He was instrumental in strengthening News Corporation’s relationships within the technology industry and also oversaw a number of key investments in the U.S. and abroad, most recently stakes taken in Roku and Bona Film Group.”
Murdoch was quoted as saying, “Jon Miller is a visionary in the digital media industry, and his commitment to News Corp over the last three years has driven us to truly evolve the way millions of people use new platforms to consume news and entertainment. As we prepare for our proposed Company separation, I respect Jon’s desire to return to an operational, entrepreneurial role with a standalone company. He will be missed and I can’t thank him enough for his efforts and many valued contributions.”
Murdoch’s No. 2 Chase Carey commented: “Jon is a seasoned technology veteran and we’ve benefited enormously from his insights and deep relationships in Silicon Valley and beyond. We wish him the best of luck on his new ventures.”