Lawrence “Lon” Jacobs, senior executive vice president and group general counsel of News Corp. is leaving the position to “pursue new opportunities,” the company announced this week.
Jacobs, 56, joined News Corp. in 1996 as a senior vice president and deputy general counsel, and became senior executive vice president and group general counsel in 2004.
In the December 2008 issue of Super Lawyers Corporate Counsel Edition, in an article entitled “Rupert Murdoch’s Right-Hand Man” by Timothy Harper, we profiled Jacobs, who told us he was thrilled about his role. “My bosses are all brilliant, they’re all decent, they’re all inclusive,” he said. “There are people who say that Rupert Murdoch is the greatest entrepreneur of the 20th Century. I get to work for him.”
As general counsel, Jacobs oversaw several hundred company lawyers around the world. His position made him one of the few people who told the company’s chairman what he could and couldn’t do, but he said he told Murdoch “no” only 10 percent of the time.
“I think your job is to figure out how to say yes,” Jacobs said. “The other 80 percent of the time it’s my job really to evaluate the risk reward.” In 2007, Jacobs helped News Corp. acquire Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal for $5.6 billion.
Raised in a household of Kennedy supporters in Middletown, Pa., Jacobs graduated from Brooklyn Law School intending to work for the ACLU. He joined Squadron Ellenoff, known for its First Amendment practice, and was swooped under the wing of Arthur Siskind, who served as outside counsel for News Corp. With Siskind, Jacobs helped establish the Fox television network.
In 2008, Murdoch told Super Lawyers, “Lon has been one of my closed advisers for years and I trust his judgment completely. He’s highly respected in the legal community, among our business partners and throughout the News Corp. executive ranks.”
In statement about his departure, Jacobs said, “I am proud of what we have achieved and I have personally reached the point in my life where it seems appropriate, and exciting, to try something new. I will certainly focus on my continued philanthropic work, including efforts to expand educational opportunities to underserved communities.”