Gemstar Honchos Quit Following Murdoch Intervention

10 October 2002

After months of behind-the-scenes pressure from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, Henry C Yuen and Elsie M Leung –respectively chief executive and chief financial officer – are set to resign from Gemstar-TV Guide International, in which NewsCorp is the principal shareholder with a 43% stake.

Gemstar posted a loss of $953.8 million (€975.4m; £613m) for its second quarter, widening from $134.8m a year earlier, having taken a $1.3 billion write-down on the value of its TV Guide magazine, once America’s top-selling weekly title.

This in turn pushed NewsCorp into a massive third quarter loss of $1.71 billion, partially attributable to the writedown of its Gemstar stake following a dive in the latter’s share price [WAMN: 09-Sep-02].

The departing duo will go ultra-gentle into that good night, Yuen with a payoff of around $22m and Leung with a pittance of $7m – in each case terminating their employment contracts. Both, however, will continue to serve as directors of Gemstar, Yuen as non-executive chairman, with a remit to “pursue international opportunities”.

As part of the severance package, Yuen has also agreed to transfer to Gemstar the many interactive TV patents held in his own name, plus the rights to any TV-related inventions developed by him during the next seven years.

Yuen is succeeded as ceo by former NewsCorp placeman Jeff Shell, currently Gemstar’s co-president and chief operating officer. Temporarily parking his posterior in Leung’s hotseat is NewsCorp’s executive vice president for finance Paul Haggerty.

NewsCorp declined to comment on the situation.

Data sourced from: New York Times; additional content by WARC staff