Foxtel chief executive Kim Williams has taken the top job at News Limited and will leave the pay-TV provider next month.

Williams, who has been head of Foxtel for exactly a decade, will be replaced by chief executive of The Australian and News Limited’s digital media business, Richard Freudenstein. This marks Freudenstein's return to Foxtel after having worked there years ago in a number of senior roles.

Williams told Sky News today that 10 years at the pay-TV provider had prepared him to take the helm at News Limited, particularly since some of its newspapers were now charging customer subscriptions.

“I understand subscriptions. I understand customer value, I understand customer pricing. I understand customer relations,” Williams said after this afternoon’s big announcement by News Corporation chairman and chief Rupert Murdoch.

Williams said his News Limited appointment reflected the fact that different media platforms were converging.

In an open letter, published by The Australian, Freudenstein said he was “excited to return to the business I helped launch 17 years ago”.

“Foxtel is a dynamic, fast-moving business with a talented, customer-focused team and it is a real honour to be asked to lead that business,” he said in the letter.

The massive shakeup also includes John Hartigan, who has resigned after 41 years at News Limited.

“John was an outstanding reporter, an editor with few peers and has been an inspiring executive, initially as Group Editorial Director and, later, as Chief Executive for 11 years and Chairman and Chief Executive for the past six,” Murdoch said in an official statement.

“Few people have contributed as much as John to the quality of journalism in Australia. He has earned enormous respect among both colleagues and competitors.”

The appointments are effective December 5.

Kim Williams will take over from John Hartigan at News Limited

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