Rupert Murdoch has appointed a former BSkyB executive with little previous newspaper experience to head up the Times newspapers and The Sun in the UK.
Former BSkyB chief operating officer Mike Darcey succeeds Tom Mockridge as chief executive of News Corporation.
Mockridge was a former chief exective of the Sky Italia broadcasting business who started his career as a newspaper journalist in New Zealand. He resigned just under a year and a half after taking over from Rebekah Brooks.
News Corp does not mention any newspaper publishing experience in Darcey's CV.
In joined Sky in Sky in 1998 to establish and run Sky’s Strategic Planning Group, becoming a member of Sky’s Executive Board in 2002. He is also a non-executive director and senior independent director of Home Retail Group (which owns the Argos & Homebase retail chains).
News Corp said: "He brings a wealth of commercial, digital and leadership experience to NI after 15 years at one of the UK’s most successful media businesses."
Darcey said: "I am hugely excited and feel privileged to be joining a company that is home to some of the world’s best known and most respected newspapers. In what has been a difficult year, NI Group Ltd has continued to lead from the front with quality journalism and innovation in new ways of delivering content. I have great admiration for the work carried out by Tom Mockridge during a difficult time and I look forward to guiding the business through the upcoming split and towards a long and successful future."
Darcey grew up in New Zealand and moved to the UK more than 20 years ago. He studied Mathematics at Victoria University, Wellington, followed by a Masters degree in Economics at LSE.
He joins News International as this year News Corp splits up its publishing businesses from its much more profitable entertainment wing,
Darcey's biggest challenge will be complying with Rupert Murdoch's order that all his newspapers are profitable in their own right. The Times is still beleived to be heavily loss-making.
Last month Times editor James Harding resigned after being told that Murdoch wanted to apppoint a new editor of The Times.