Television

Fox Entertainment EVP joins Gemstar-TV Guide as CEO

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MUMBAI: Fox Entertainment Group executive vice president business development and strategy Rich Battista has been appointed as Gemstar-TV Guide International, Inc. as chief executive officer. Battista replaces Jeff Shell, current CEO and a member of the company's board of directors, who has resigned. Battista's appointment is effective immediately.

The company also announced the appointment of Anthea Disney as executive chairman of the board of directors. Disney's responsibilities in this newly created position at Gemstar-TV Guide will be in addition to her ongoing role as executive vice president for content at News Corporation. With Disney's appointment, Lachlan Murdoch has resigned his position as a Gemstar-TV Guide director.

Announcing the changes, Rupert Murdoch, a member of Gemstar's board and chairman of News Corporation, Gemstar's largest shareholder said, "Rich Battista is a talented, dedicated executive with operational and strategic skills. I am confident that under Rich, Gemstar-TV Guide will continue its turnaround and regain its momentum. Rich has deep relationships across the television industry, and a strong track record of identifying and capitalizing on the type of growth opportunities critical to delivering greater value to Gemstar-TV Guide's customers and shareholders."

Murdoch added, "In Anthea Disney, Gemstar-TV Guide will have a chairman of exceptional experience and ability in the media industry. Anthea has a history of success turning around difficult businesses, and I feel certain that her wise counsel will be a great asset to the executive team at the Company."

Battista said, "This is an exciting opportunity to help extend Gemstar-TV Guide's leadership in an industry where technological advances and changing consumer viewing habits provide real growth prospects for our company's powerful assets. I look forward to working with the company's excellent management team to maximise that considerable potential."

Murdoch also thanked Shell for having steered Gemstar-TV Guide through a very difficult period in the company's history. "Jeff has made invaluable contributions to Gemstar-TV Guide during his tenure, successfully navigating the company through a management and corporate governance restructuring, and was instrumental in resolving many of its business and legal issues," said Murdoch.

Shell joined Gemstar-TV Guide in April 2002 as COO and a member of the board, and has served as the company's CEO since November 2002. Shell has agreed to remain with the company during a transition period. "I appreciate having had the opportunity to be part of Gemstar-TV Guide during this critical time. The successes we have achieved over the past few years are truly a testament to the hard work and dedication of the Company's many talented employees," said Shell.

"With a great management team now in place, and a solid foundation laid for the Company's future success, I leave Gemstar-TV Guide stronger than when I arrived, and in great shape to capitalise on its outstanding portfolio of assets. I love to fix and build new businesses, so I'm looking forward to taking on the next big challenge."

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