CEO Rupert Murdoch announced the changes today in a staff memo. He named General Counsel Gerson Zweifach to serve as Chief Compliance Officer, with responsibility “to create a more robust global compliance and ethics program.” Associate General Counsel Lisa Fleischman will make day-to-day decisions as Deputy Chief Compliance Officer. Both will report to the company board and its Audit Committee. In addition, News Corp will be divided into five “compliance groups,” each with a full-time Group Chief Compliance Officer who’ll report to Zweifach. There will be two in Los Angeles — one for Cable and Broadcast and another for Film and TV Production. In addition, there will be compliance groups for Europe and Asia, Australia, and in New York for News and Information. “We recognize that 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,” Murdoch says. He adds that the company has already strengthened and expanded anti-bribery training, and has begun to review anti-corruption controls “in selected locations around the globe.” The review “is not based on any suspicion of wrongdoing by any particular business unit or its personnel. Rather, it is a forward-looking review based on our commitment to improve anti-corruption controls throughout the company.”
Murdoch says that the changes are at least partly designed to fulfill promises he made to the UK Parliament and the government’s Leveson Inquiry into press ethics — both of which are investigating the company’s hacking and bribery scandals at publications led by its now defunct News Of The World tabloid. “To continue to be worthy of the trust of our audiences around the world, we all have an affirmative obligation to adhere to the highest standards of ethical behavior, consistent with our Standards of Business Conduct,” Murdoch says.