Peter Chernin, President and COO, News Corporation, and Chairman and CEO of Fox Entertainment Group, has decided to step down. He will be leaving the organization when his contract expires in June 2009. Chernin, who has been second-in-command at News Corp after Rupert Murdoch, will be setting up his own Hollywood film and production company that will supply movies to News Corp’s Fox Division.
Chernin has been with News Corp since 1989, when he had joined as President of entertainment at Fox Broadcasting. He was made President and CEO of the Fox Movie Studio in 1992, a post he had held until his promotion to his current position in 1996.
Prior to joining Fox, Chernin was President and COO of Lorimar Film Entertainment. His other executive roles include positions at Showtime/The Movie Channel, Warner Books and St Martin’s Press. He is also a Corporate Director for American Express.
Meanwhile, speculations are rife about who will fill in Chernin’s shoes at News Corp. A statement issued by News Corp said, “The Los Angeles-based Fox businesses will report directly to Murdoch upon Chernin’s departure.”
Murdoch’s son, James Murdoch’s name is being widely floated as the likely replacement, however, no official comments are forthcoming in this regard.
It may be noted that ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, which sent India into raptures with its eight-Oscar haul on February 23, was released by a unit of News Corp overseen by Chernin, who was also at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles at the Oscar ceremony.
Watch this space for further developments.