BSkyB will not promote the general manager of Sky Networks,
Elisabeth Murdoch, to chief executive in the wake of Mark Booth’s
departure, but will recruit its new chief from outside the company.
The satellite broadcaster announced Booth’s move to a new-media venture,
e-partners, this week, and said that a committee of the board had been
set up to select his successor from external candidates.
Booth, who has been with the broadcaster for almost 18 months, is set to
leave the company within the next few weeks. e-partners is being backed
by News Corporation, which is providing a dollars 300 million equity
capital base, and will invest in new-media opportunities such as the
internet and interactive TV.
Booth said of his new post: ’I am thrilled to be leading an
entrepreneurial venture at a time of great change and opportunity. I
look forward to building on the successes we have already achieved in
interactive digital television and to creating new opportunities for
News Corp and its shareholders.’
Booth is understood to have turned down a dollars 25 million offer to
join Microsoft after being persuaded by Rupert Murdoch to stay with News
Corp as head of its new-media venture.
BSkyB quickly quashed speculation that Booth’s departure is related to
the failure of Sky’s takeover bid for Manchester United, which was
blocked by the Government earlier this month.
Murdoch said: ’Mark has done an outstanding job at BSkyB. He will leave
the company in great shape. It has very talented executives in each of
its key operational areas and I am extremely confident about its
Speculation has also centred on Booth’s reaction to BSkyB’s tentative
merger talks with Canal+. According to observers, Booth was not wholly
supportive of the talks and discussions between the two broadcasting
giants could now be revived with Booth out of the way.