(Corrects company name in 38th paragraph to Interactive DataCorp)
* Brash ex-Bloomberg exec jolts Dow Jones as new CEO * Fenwick vows to sharpen focus on newswire, customers
* DJ profits key as News Corp splits publishing fromentertainment
By Jennifer Saba
NEW YORK, Oct 7 (Reuters) - He's tearing down walls. He'stossing out old business models. And he's dressing down people,publicly and profanely, in the once-buttoned-down halls of DowJones & Co., publisher of the august Wall Street Journal.
Lex Fenwick (pronounced FEN-nick), a long-time Bloomberg LPexecutive, is making his mark on Dow Jones, the News Corp
subsidiary where he became chief executive officerearlier this year.
Fenwick quickly dismantled the offices in the executivesuite, emulating the open-floor plan of his previous employer.He works from a desk in a corner of the seventh floor of NewsCorp's headquarters in midtown Manhattan, and his conversations- often expletive-laced - can be widely heard.
"This is not what I wanted! Are you a f---ing idiot?" oneemployee heard Fenwick screaming at a colleague not long ago.Others inside the company say they have often heard Fenwickyelling profanities and shouting at underlings.
Fenwick has been called a master salesman and businessbuilder whose hard-charging style often runs roughshod overcolleagues and subordinates. His makeover of Dow Jones comes ata crucial time for Rupert Murdoch's media empire as News Corpprepares to split off its global publishing assets from itsentertainment businesses.
Murdoch needs Fenwick's shock treatment to succeed so thatDow Jones, with about $2 billion in annual revenue, can be thegrowth engine for the new publishing company, analysts said.
Most of News Corp's newspapers are grappling withindustry-wide problems of declining readership and printadvertising sales, plus the fallout from the hacking scandal atits British publications. One bright spot is Dow Jones' WallStreet Journal, the top U.S. newspaper by circulation, whichalso boasts one of publishing's most successful digitalstrategies.
For Dow Jones, Fenwick's arrival in February has been moreof a jolt than when News Corp bought the company in 2007. Theexecutives Murdoch brought in, including seasoned newspapermanLes Hinton as CEO, were seen as evolutionary and, mostly,respectful of colleagues.
Former Bloomberg colleagues say Fenwick, 53, has superbsales skills. During his seven years as chief executive at thefinancial information and news company, revenue doubled to $6billion.
But the British executive is erratic - charming and smoothone minute but loud and belligerent the next, according tointerviews with more than 20 people who have worked with him.
Fenwick's aggressive approach helped him rise to the top ofBloomberg, but also led to his downfall just a few years later,said these people, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Fenwick declined to be interviewed for this article and aspokeswoman for Dow Jones declined to comment.
In his first eight months at Dow Jones, Fenwick has sweptaside several senior managers and replaced them with formerBloomberg colleagues. He plans to raise prices for Dow JonesNewswires and reduce discounts, a strategy that could backfireat a time when banks are under pressure to cut costs.
Fenwick also wants to transform the way Dow Jones sells itsnews and information to financial institutions by introducing anew Web-based platform for all its products before the end ofthe year, aiming to win market share from Bloomberg, ThomsonReuters Corp and other rivals.
As part of a stand-alone publishing company, Dow Jones willbe critical. In the 2012 fiscal year ended June 30, Dow Jonescontributed $180 million in earnings before interest, tax,depreciation and amortization - that is 30 percent of EBITDAfrom News Corp's newspaper properties, estimated Gabelli & Coanalyst Brett Harriss.
"If anything is going to have lasting power it's going to besomething like Dow Jones where you have a niche audience,specialized reporting and the willingness of consumers to payfor the product," Harriss said.
News Corp has not said who will run the new publishingcompany . Media watchers view Dow JonesEditor-in-Chief Robert Thomson a long-time Murdoch confidantewho currently reports to Fenwick, as one of the front runners.News Corp declined to comment.
It is unclear what role Fenwick will play in the newstructure. In an interview last July, he spoke of somenervousness about joining Dow Jones after 25 years at Bloomberg.
"It's quite strange to only know one thing and to go to adifferent thing," he said then. "With trepidation you step intothis thing and say you know this could be really scary."
A PAGE FROM BLOOMBERG
Fenwick started as one of Bloomberg's first sales employeesin London in 1987, when the company was an upstart in Europeanfinancial markets against Reuters. He eventually became head ofEuropean sales and turned the region into one of Bloomberg'sbest, at times even outperforming the United States.
He wears purple (yes, purple) suits from the Savile Rowdesigner Ozwald Boateng. He also favors leather pants, pork piehats atop his bald pate, a pierced ear and modern art.
At Bloomberg, Fenwick was fond of marketing antics andextravagant office parties. One infamous Christmas party inLondon was based on the Seven Deadly Sins. It featured dragqueens, a huge bed covered in purple satin and entertainerswaving cash and shouting "Money, ain't it gorgeous!"
"He's irascible, opinionated and can be incrediblydemanding," said TheStreet Editor-in-Chief William Inman, whoworked for 17 years at Bloomberg and used to run its publishingunit. "He trusts his instincts and 90 percent of the time he isdead-on right."
Still, many colleagues were surprised when Fenwick waspromoted to chief executive in 2001 as founder MichaelBloomberg, now mayor of New York City, stepped down to focus onpolitics. The strength of the European division and Fenwick'screativity won him the job, say people with knowledge of thematter. Bloomberg LP declined to comment for this article.
As CEO, Fenwick ramped up what had already been put inplace: a strong brand and first-rate customer support. His desksat in the middle of customer service, and he ordered every newmember of the sales staff to rotate through that department.
But he also ran into legal trouble. In 2007, the EqualEmployment Opportunity Commission filed a high-profile classaction lawsuit that accused Michael Bloomberg, Fenwick and othertop executives of discrimination against pregnant women.
One of the complaints alleged that Fenwick had instructedanother executive to fire two women who were pregnant and said"I'm not having any pregnant bitches working for me." BloombergLP has denied the allegation.
U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska last year threw out thesuit, saying there was insufficient evidence presented to showdiscrimination was the company's standard operating procedure,even if there were several isolated instances of discrimination.Some of the women are still pursuing individual claims.
Bloomberg insiders say Fenwick used fear as a tactic tomotivate people.
"He would go into the office in his purple suit and standthere like a peacock and scream at people," said one formerBloomberg veteran. "He felt that he was keeping people offbalance constantly... so they would look at things differently."
For his part, Fenwick has talked about the tough love heexperienced from his parents. He once told a colleague that whenhe turned 21, his father gave him a one-way ticket to Australiato force the party-loving youth to learn to fend for himself.Fenwick wanted to refund the ticket and pocket the cash, but hisfather followed him to the airport to watch him board the plane.
Fenwick's take-no-prisoners attitude led him to butt headswith other Bloomberg executives and ultimately led to hisdownfall there, people with knowledge of the situation said.
By 2005, he was stripped of some major responsibilitiesthough he held on to the CEO title until 2008, when he wasdemoted to lead Bloomberg Ventures.
REVAMPING DOW JONES
Fenwick began to explore other opportunities. His chancecame when Hinton, a long-time Murdoch lieutenant, resigned asDow Jones CEO in July 2011 at the height of the hacking scandalat the British newspapers, which Hinton had once overseen. Infinding a successor, News Corp wanted to address the Newswiresbusiness since Murdoch had primarily focused on the Wall StreetJournal.
A source close to the company said Fenwick is supposed toconcentrate on the business and leave Thomson to run anautonomous newsroom. News Corp management knew Fenwick could becombustible, but felt he was worth the risk, the source said.
Fenwick brings new energy and drive to Dow Jones, hissupporters say. They contend that the company had become toocautious.
"The history of Dow Jones is a series of opportunitieslost," said Peter Appert, an analyst who covered the companywhen it was controlled by the Bancroft family and is currentlywith Piper Jaffray. "The hegemony of Dow Jones is significantlydiminished in all parts of the financial information sector."
Fenwick has told employees he has Bloomberg and ThomsonReuters in his sights. He plans to create a Web-based platformto house all Dow Jones content, so he can better control thecustomer experience and be less dependent on third-partydistributors like Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters, FactSet ResearchSystems Inc and Interactive Data Corp.
He has also brought some of Bloomberg's focus on customerservice to Dow Jones. He has shortened the customer servicedepartment's email response time to four hours from 24 hours.The company also plans to launch in November a 24-hour,seven-day-a-week online chat system to address customer issues.
Fenwick has rattled Dow Jones employees used to a moregenteel style.
In a meeting with dozens of Dow Jones sales people andsenior managers last spring, Fenwick was asked if he would seekcustomer advice on his changes. "F--- the customer," Fenwickreplied, adding that he only cared about Dow Jones, according tofour people who heard, or heard about, the outburst.
And Fenwick has backpedaled over some decisions.
After a presentation about Factiva, a news database thatdraws upon roughly 35,000 sources, Fenwick was surprised tolearn that a default search ranked stories by relevance and didnot give prominence to Dow Jones content. He pressed for changesto make Dow Jones articles pop up first, but had to undo themafter customers reacted badly.
Some Dow Jones employees have reached out to Murdoch andNews Corp President Chase Carey to complain about Fenwick, saidanother source. It is not clear how Murdoch and his lieutenantsviewed the complaints.
At least a dozen high-level executives at Dow Jones haveleft since Fenwick joined. Many others are discreetly lookingfor new jobs. Some insiders fear layoffs are in store, partlybecause Fenwick is expected to consolidate journalists from DowJones Newswires into one newsroom under the Wall Street Journalmoniker.
Several Dow Jones clients said they were impressed with thenew CEO. One senior banker said Fenwick was smart and direct,adding, "He is what they need over there." Other clients saidthey were concerned about his plans to raise prices, which couldaffect decisions to renew contracts.
Ultimately, Fenwick's ability to boost Dow Jones's bottomline will determine his success or failure. "I would love totell you we are making so much money here that we could lose afew million," Fenwick said in the July interview with Reuters."I can't really say that. We need every dollar."
(Additional reporting by Miranda Maxwell in Melbourne; Editingby Tiffany Wu and David Gregorio)
Keywords: DOWJONES FENWICK