Tom Quinn appointed News Corp Australia CTO



news Publishing giant News Corp Australia has appointed internal candidate Tom Quinn as its new chief technology officer, following the retirement of long-serving chief information officer John Pittard this month.

As the Australian division of global publishing powerhouse News Corp, News Corp Australia is one of Australia’s largest publishing companies, operating an extensive stable of newspapers, magazines and websites and with interests in other media ventures. The company is a major employer, especially of journalists, and claims to reach over 14.4 million Australians with its content.

Pittard joined News Limited in mid-2003 after serving as the chief information officer for Telstra’s Retail division, then as managing director for Telstra’s hosting and Internet business. He is one of the most experienced technology executives in Australia, having racked up over three decades of experience working in technology circles locally.

The CIO’s retirement was announced in late August this year. At the time, News Corp Australia’s chief executive Julian Clarke said (according to a copy of his statement published by Mumbrella): “John has provided outstanding service to News Corp Australia over the last decade. He has transformed our technology group, making it integral to our strategic thinking and digital product development as well as critical in delivering modern, efficient business systems and infrastructure.

“Most recently John has overseen the delivery of major projects including the new Eidos Methode content publishing system – which is critical to the delivery of our great journalism to customers across print and digital – as well as a large range of new digital products.”

Since Pittard’s move to step down, News Corp staffer Tom Quinn has been acting chief technology officer for News Corp Australia. According to an email sent by News Corp Australia chief operating officer Peter Tonagh (who has only been in his own role since August) announcing Quinn’s appointment as CTO to News Corp staff on 13 November, the executive has also been involved in the Methode rollout at News Corp.

“Tom has an intimate knowledge of our business following nine years in various technology roles within News Corp Australia,” wrote Tonagh. “Most recently Tom has been acting in the role of chief technology officer, following John Pittard’s retirement. He has also played a significant part in the roll out and implementation of Eidos Methode across editorial.”

“In his new role, Tom will be accountable for: Developing the strategic roadmap for future technology requirements within News Corp Australia; The ongoing support of business platforms and systems; and technology operations and service.”

“Our digital technology platforms will continue to report to Alisa Bowen in her role as group director digital and product development. Alisa and Tom will work closely to ensure our technology platforms are fully coordinated and aligned with the News Corp global strategy. Tom will report to me. Please join me in congratulating Tom on his appointment.”

Methode, a system supplied by EidosMedia, is a next generation publishing platform which News Corp has implemented over the past year. It is billed as being able to cut down the steps needed for News Corp to publish a story across various platforms — such as to print, web, mobile and tablets — and cost around $60 million to implement.

However, not everyone is happy with the use of the platform, with a number of News Corp staff understood to be frustrated at the system’s problems and its disruption to their existing workflow.

iTNews has reported (we recommend you click here for the full article) that Quinn will be seeking to move as much as possible of News Corp’s internal IT operations onto the new generation of cloud computing platforms, including the use of Google Apps for collaboration.

Quinn’s appointment comes as other major Australian publishers are also experimenting with new internal systems. For example, in July 2012 Fairfax similarly announced plans to ditch Microsoft’s Office and Exchange platforms for most of its 11,000-odd staff, with the company to become one of the largest known Australian organisations to shift onto Google’s Apps platform for both email and office productivity software.