Another key departure in the House of Murdoch

Chief Marketing Officer Gary Ginsberg was a close advisor to media baron Rupert Murdoch.

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By Richard Siklos, editor at large

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NEW YORK (Fortune) -- Another of Rupert Murdoch's key lieutenants over the past 10 years is leaving his company, News Corporation. The company is expected to announce tomorrow that Gary Ginsberg, the media giant's executive vice president and chief marketing officer, is leaving the company at the end of the year.

Ginsberg is close both to Murdoch, the company's chairman and CEO, and to Peter Chernin, the former president of News Corp. (NWSA) who resigned earlier this year to become a film and television producer, among other things.

Like Chernin, Ginsberg is a prominent Democrat -- he worked in the Clinton White House -- who helped Murdoch build bridges (or at least talk about them) with both Bill and Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration. Initially hired to oversee corporate communications, Ginsberg took on an ever greater role as a close advisor to Murdoch and played a large behind-the-scenes part in Murdoch's successful efforts to woo the Bancroft family into selling the Wall Street Journal to him two years ago.

Ginsberg helped News Corp. navigate a succession of controversies, including the messy departure of former publisher Judith Regan and the aborted book and television program she had planned with O.J. Simpson.

Amid the company's complicated internal politics, Ginsberg -- an attorney by training who also worked in journalism and crisis PR -- navigated the tricky role of fielding criticism about Murdoch's conservative-leaning outlets, particularly the New York Post and Fox News Channel. Much of the time, Murdoch and Ginsberg talked about politics outside the company, a favorite subject of both men.

A person familiar with the announcement says that Ginsberg has been restless for new and different responsibilities, but there is no obvious place for him to go at News Corp., and he is holding discussions with other companies.

The complexion of the company has changed much over the past two years, with the hiring of a top digital executive in former AOL chief Jonathan Miller, the departure of Chernin, and the return of veteran executive Chase Carey into a role similar to Chernin's, as well as growing responsibilities for James Murdoch, Rupert's son, who now oversees Asia and Europe for the company. To top of page

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