NEW YORK: Leslie Hinton (pictured), for four decades Rupert Murdoch's most trusted lieutenant and enforcer, is set to move in as capo dei capi of Dow Jones this coming Friday when News Corporation is set to close its $5 billion-plus acquisition.

Current Dow ceo Richard F Zannino (49) is the first of an expected line of casualties at the group's subsidiaries: the Wall Street Journal, Barron's and Dow Jones Newswires.

Zannino told staff in a resignation email that "while this was my choice, I'm nonetheless saddened by it." And in a subsequent newspaper interview, he added that he thought it "best for the company and for News Corp and for me to step aside and let them take Dow Jones to the next level".

He did not predict whether he believed that level would be up or down.

He did, however, let it be known that he is up for hire, declaring himself interested in running another media company - while remaining "open-minded" about other opportunities.

Other executives reportedly packing the Dow Jones departure lounge are WSJ publisher Gordon Crovitz, cfo Bill Plummer, general counsel Joseph A Stern and corporate communications chief Linda Dunbar.

Meantime, second in the lengthening inbound queue is another Murdoch trusty, Robert Thomson (46), previously editor of NewsCorp's UK national daily The Times. He will oversee Dow Jones' editorial operations, reporting to Hinton.

Both executives are expected to maintain their present symbiotic relationship with the patriarch of Clan Murdoch.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff