Former Y&R boss McLennan lands new hot seat at News Corporation

Out of the frying pan into the fire you might say for Hamish McLennan who resigned as boss of WPP-owned Y&R last year and has now taken a new role, developing ‘global brand partnerships,’ for crisis-stricken News Corporation.

McLennan, an Aussie, will be executive vice president, office of the chairman (wow!) and report to Rupert Murdoch and News Corp COO Chase Carey. He will be based in New York and Sydney. Presumably he comes warmly recommended by Murdoch’s chum, his former employer Sir Martin Sorrell.

McLennan has to earn a living of course but the intriguing thing about this appointment is how it fits in, if it does, to News Corporation succession planning.

CEO and effective owner Rupert Murdoch is 80 and showing the strain as he grapples with the fire in his British newspaper operation sparked by the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World and showing absolutely no sign of dying out.

Son James, long regarded as his likely successor, is looking anything but at the moment as he’s still in the dock for his chairmanship of News International when the phone hacking scandal appears to have been deliberately covered up.

COO Carey would be the choice of most shareholders as Rupert’s successor (sooner rather than later) but at some stage News Corp will need to bring on a younger raft of executives.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.