21st Century Fox has promoted the Fox Networks Group chairman and CEO Peter Rice to president. He will continue to serve in his Fox Networks Group role, in which he oversees ox Broadcasting Company, Fox Sports, FX Networks, National Geographic, 20th Century Fox TV and Fox Networks Group Latin America, Europe and Asia. He’s been in that post since 2012.
He hasn’t been given the keys to the kingdom, though, as he continues on the TV track: Stacey Snider, chairman and CEO of 20th Century Fox Film, will continue to report to Lachlan and James Murdoch. Fox News Channel brass will continue to report to Rupert Murdoch, who took over after the ouster of Roger Ailes. Peter Chernin, who held the president title at News Corp., oversaw both the film and TV divisions.
Rice had been mentioned as a potential candidate to replace Michael Lynton atop Sony Pictures Entertainment, and to replace Brad Grey at Paramount before Tony Vincequerra got the Sony job and former Fox chief Jim Gianopulos got Paramount. Because of his background in both film and television (he ran Fox Searchlight before he began rising in the Fox heirarchy) Rice rates a mention whenever a big job opens.
Rice has long been considered one of the strongest contenders outside of the Murdoch family for a leading role at 21st Century Fox. He is close to the Murdochs — Rice’s father was a business associate of Rupert Murdoch, and through this connection Rice landed an internship at Fox in 1989, kicking off his lengthy tenure at the company. He had been groomed for a larger role with high-profile stints first on the feature side at Fox Searchlight and then in TV at Fox and later fox Networks Group.
“As part of our ongoing work to evolve and expand the 21CF leadership structure, we’re pleased to name Peter to this newly created position,” 21st Century Fox executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch and CEO James Murdoch said. “Peter has driven exceptional growth at Fox Networks Group during a time of real transformational change in the business, expanding our audiences and innovating new distribution models, from which the company, our shareholders and our customers have benefited greatly. Peter’s impact on the business is immense and we are incredibly fortunate to have him with us in this expanded role during this exciting next chapter of the company.”
At FNG, Rice has overseen the growth of the TV business on all platforms, spearheading the expansion of FX; helping launch Fox Sports 1, National Geographic Partners and game-focused FoxNext; and connecting Fox with Hulu, where he is on the board. He also led the creation of the Digital Consumer Group focused on integrating Fox Now, Fox Sports Go, FX Now and Nat Geo TV. While Fox Broadcasting Co. has struggled lately, the rest of Rice portfolio has done pretty well.