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Former AOL chief Jonathan Miller expected to join News Corp.

The well-respected co-founder of Velocity Interactive Group would become head of global digital strategy, well-placed sources say. He is expected to report directly to Chairman Rupert Murdoch.

March 28, 2009|Dawn C. Chmielewski

Former America Online Chief Executive Jonathan Miller is expected to join News Corp. as head of global digital strategy, according to well-placed sources.

Working with the heads of News Corp.'s business units to spur digital initiatives across the company, Miller would be filling a void soon to be left by President and Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin, who is leaving in June. Miller is expected to report directly to Chairman Rupert Murdoch.

Miller cannot join News Corp. until his noncompete agreement with AOL ends in the coming days, sources say. AOL invoked the clause in August to bar him from joining Yahoo Inc.'s board of directors -- a move many viewed as positioning him to succeed then-Chief Executive Jerry Yang.

After making his mark in e-commerce at Barry Diller's media conglomerate, Miller was chair and chief executive of AOL for more than four years until he was ousted in November 2006. After stepping down, he co-founded Velocity Interactive Group, an investment firm specializing in digital media.

Miller has established himself as a hot hand on the Internet. He has detractors, particularly inside AOL parent Time Warner, but gets plaudits from analysts and colleagues who say he is one of the industry's foremost strategic thinkers.

Media veteran Herb Scannell, CEO of Internet television start-up Next New Networks and former vice chair of MTV Networks, calls Miller "one of the smartest guys I have come across in the media world."

The News Corp. hiring is part of a reorganization of the company's digital division, including Fox Interactive Media, the group whose online properties include social network MySpace, Photobucket, game enthusiast site IGN and movie review site Rotten Tomatoes.

Among other changes, sources say, Fox Interactive President Peter Levinsohn will take a new role as president of new media and digital distribution for Fox Filmed Entertainment, reporting to studio co-Chairmen Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman.

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dawn.chmielewski@latimes.com

Times staff writer Claudia Eller contributed to this report.

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