News Corp Australia just announced the appointment of Foxtel CFO Peter Tonagh as its chief operating officer.
Tonagh joined Foxtel in 2004 when it was a loss-making venture. The pay-TV operator turned its first profit two years later and earlier this month posted earnings before interest depreciation, tax and amortisation of $944 million, on revenue of $3.1 billion.
He’s joining News Corp Australia in a newly-created role just two weeks after its CEO Kim Williams was replaced by Julian Clarke after just 20 months in the job. Tonagh worked under Williams at Foxtel.
AFR’s Capital magazine named him CFO of the year in 2012. In an interview, he outlined some of the challenges Foxtel was facing when he joined:
“We had to drive up the revenue per customer, drive down the content cost through renegotiation of some of the legacy contracts, improve operational efficiency and grow the subscriber base,” he says. “Those four things had to come together to make the business profitable.”
Similar challenges await in the new job as News Corp, like all established news publishers, confronts the rapid changes in consumer and advertiser demand in the digital age.
Here’s the announcement:
News Corp Australia today announced the appointment of Peter Tonagh as chief operating officer. Mr Tonagh joins the company from Foxtel where he has held the position of chief operating officer and chief financial officer.
News Corp Australia’s chief executive officer Mr Julian Clarke said, “I am delighted Peter, with all his talent and experience, has agreed to accept the position of chief operating officer of the company.
“Peter is an outstanding media executive who over the last decade has been critical in driving the growth and success of Foxtel. Among his many achievements Peter has overseen Foxtel’s overall strategy, the acquisition and integration of Austar, key channel negotiations and an increase in Foxtel’s expenditure on content including local production.
“In his position as COO he will be responsible for helping drive the business to its next stage of growth. Peter has a proven track record in strategy and financial management and will be an important addition to our senior management team. He will also be a key interface with our related companies, Foxtel, FOX SPORTS and the REA Group” he added.
Mr Tonagh said, “It’s a privilege to have been asked to be chief operating officer of a company with such a strong heritage in journalism, deep connection with its customers and with such great print and digital assets.
“I look forward to joining talented colleagues at News Corp to take the company through its next stage of investment in journalism and new products and its continued evolution as an outstanding media company,” he said.
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