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Aug. 1 (Bloomberg) -- News Corp. named Andrea Zappia as Chief Executive Officer of Italian pay-TV operator Sky Italia, replacing the manager who succeeded Rebekah Brooks as head of the U.K. newspaper division following a phone-hacking scandal.
Zappia will start immediately, the company said in a statement today. He was responsible for marketing and business Development at Sky Italia between 2003 and 2007 and joined British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc, News Corp.’s U.K.-based pay- TV division, in 2010 to lead sales and marketing.
News Corp., controlled by Rupert Murdoch, is struggling to move past a phone-hacking scandal, which caused it to drop a 7.8 billion pound ($12.8 billion) bid for the remaining 61 percent of BSkyB if doesn’t already own. Zappia’s predecessor at Sky Italia, Tom Mockridge, was named CEO of newspaper unit News International. He replaced Brooks who faces an investigation over claims that employees illegally intercepted voice-mail messages when she was editor of the News of the World tabloid.
While Murdoch, 80, built his empire on newspapers including the New York Post and London’s Times, subscription businesses such as pay-TV are now the core of New York-based News Corp. Sky Italia’s main competitor is Mediaset SpA, the broadcaster controlled by Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. The two companies are vying for viewers, lowering prices and adding high-definition broadcasts.
In May, Sky Italia forecast it will have more than 5 million subscribers by the end of this summer.
Zappia, who has also worked in marketing at carmaker Ferrari and consumer goods company Procter & Gamble Co. has a “breadth of experience across a range of roles, covering operations, sports, marketing, broadband and branding, and a range of sectors,” James Murdoch, BSkyB’s chairman and Rupert’s son, said in the statement.
Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, competes with News Corp. units in providing news and financial information.
Allegations of phone hacking at the now-closed News of the World newspaper in the U.K. have led to the arrest of at least 10 people, including Brooks, and ex-News of the World editor Andy Coulson, who was Prime Minister David Cameron’s press chief until January.
--Editors: Simon Thiel, Robert Valpuesta.
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