Peter Chernin set to quit News Corp

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Peter Chernin, president and chief operating officer will be leaving News Corp, which owns and operates STAR India Pvt. Ltd, after nearly 20 years at the firm.

Chernin is a well-regarded Hollywood executive who has been a critical force in News Corp’s success in movies and TV. But though he has been with the company for nearly 20 years, it was unlikely that Chernin would ever get more than a secondary role because Murdoch is expected to eventually hand the reins to his son James.

Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO, News Corp and Chernin had failed to reach an agreement on a new contract, so he will leave when his existing contract expires on 30th June, the company said on Monday.

Chernin will start a Fox-based production company as well as other ventures, News Corp said. He will be under a six-year deal that calls for him to produce movies and TV shows for Fox, which must buy at least two movies a year from him, News Corp spokeswoman Julie Henderson said.

“We are fortunate to have such a strong and seasoned group of leaders at our Fox companies and we are confident that our success will continue. To that end, Peter and I will work closely over the next four months to ensure an effective transition.” said Murdoch.

Commenting on his departure, Chernin said, “This was a difficult decision for me. Next week marks my 20th anniversary with News Corporation and the Company has been a huge part of my life. During my years here I have had the great privilege to work for one of the true visionary leaders of our time, Rupert Murdoch.”

News Corp also cut its fiscal 2009 operating income forecast to a decline of 30 percent versus its previous forecast for a fall in the mid-teen percentage range. James Murdoch will stay in charge of News Corp’s European and Asian operations, including The Sun and Times newspapers in London and STAR television in India, the Financial Times reported on its website on Monday.

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