News Corp shakes up legal team in compliance push

News Corp has appointed five group chief compliance officers, including former Davis Polk & Wardwell and WilmerHale lawyers, as part of its bid to strengthen its compliance structure.

Gerson Zweifach, News Corp’s group general counsel and chief compliance officer, who joined the company earlier this year (3 January 2012), will sit atop the new compliance structure.

In an internal memo, sent to staff at News Corp yesterday, Zweifach explained: “Last April, our board directed us to strengthen our global compliance structure, which I will oversee as News Corporation’s chief compliance officer.

“I’m pleased to report that we continue to make important progress with the appointment of five group chief compliance officers (GCCOs), each of whom will assume a full-time role ensuring that our businesses operate with the highest level of integrity.”

The shake-up comes following a phone-hacking scandal that rocked News Corp and led to the closure of the News of the World tabloid in 2011.

Brian Michael has been brought in as GCCO for the Fox Networks Group and will be based in Los Angeles. Michael was a federal prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s Office in New York and Los Angeles. Before that he was at WilmerHale, which he joined as a counsel in 2010.

John McCoy is also joining the company in Los Angeles, as GCCO for Twentieth Century Fox Film, Twentieth Century Fox Television and Shine Group. McCoy was associate regional director of enforcement at the Los Angeles division of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The GCCO in Europe and Asia, based in London, will be Canday Lawson, who joins from Morgan Stanley, where she was anti-corruption counsel for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Before joining Morgan Stanley, Lawson was a lawyer at Davis Polk & Wardwell.

Meanwhile, Keith Wood will continue to serve as the director of internal audit and risk for News Ltd in Sydney but will also be GCCO for the Australia group. Lisa Fleischman will also assume a dual role as GCCO for News Corp’s New York-based information businesses – Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox TV Stations Group, Dow Jones, the New York Post, HarperCollins, News America Marketing and Amplify – as well as serving as deputy chief compliance offer for News Corp.