News Corporation axes top comms role as Matthew Anderson prepares to leave

News Corporation is set to lose its top communicator, but the under-siege media giant is not thought to be directly replacing his role.

News International: senior UK comms professionals have left
News International: senior UK comms professionals have left

On Tuesday it emerged that Matthew Anderson, widely seen as James Murdoch’s right-hand man, will become the latest senior comms professional to leave News Corp and its News International subsidiary.

Anderson, News Corp’s group director, strategy and corporate affairs, Europe and Asia, will return to the US at the end of March to ‘pursue other opportunities’.

His departure means that all the most senior UK-based comms professionals at News Corp and News International have left since the hacking crisis intensified last summer.

Alice Macandrew, News Corp’s director of corporate comms for Europe and Asia, and another key ally of James Murdoch, left in December after disagreeing with the company’s handling of the hacking crisis.

News International’s head of corporate affairs at the time the crisis broke, Simon Greenberg, is on a ‘permanent secondment’ to News Corp, where he is co-leading the Management and Standards Committee investigation into phone hacking.

His interim replacement, former Tulchan consultant Andrew Honnor, is also set to leave the company in the coming weeks to launch a financial PR consultancy.

In addition, this week the group’s top US comms executive, Teri Everett, also left.

News Corp is believed to have identified a replacement for Honnor, and is finalising contractual details.

It is understood that there will be no direct replacement for Anderson. He was involved in the organisation’s response to the hacking scandal, but his role has become a strategic business one, rather than comms focused.

Anderson’s departure is likely to be one of a number of wider changes to News Corp’s  business structure in the coming weeks. The company is expected to re-examine its group-level comms needs once the changes to senior personnel and its corporate organisation are complete.

Last week, police arrested four current and former employees of The Sun over bribery allegations, said to be based on information supplied ‘proactively’ by News Corp.

External comms are being handled by Daisy Dunlop at News International and Miranda Higham at News Corp.

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