Kann Cedes Dow Jones CEO Post

He'll remain chairman until 2007. Richard Zannino takes the helm.
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Dow Jones

(DJ)

said Peter Kann's 14-year run as chief executive will end Feb. 1 when he steps aside and Chief Operating Officer Richard Zannino moves in to take the post.

Kann, 63, will continue as chairman until the annual meeting in 2007, when he'll reach the company's mandatory retirement age of 65.

Dow Jones also said Karen Elliott House, the 58-year-old senior vice president of the company and publisher of its flagship publication,

The Wall Street Journal

, is retiring. A press release Tuesday indicated that House and the company reached a mutual agreement that will end her 32-year career.

Zannino, 47, isn't a journalist by trade, whereas Kann and House have each received the Pulitzer Prize. Zannino joined Dow Jones in February 2001 as executive vice president and chief financial officer. He became COO in July 2002. Previously, he spent time with companies including

Liz Claiborne

(LIZ)

,

General Signal

and

Saks

(SKS)

.

"I look forward to working together with the board of directors, my fellow executives and the many other outstanding people of Dow Jones as we strive to fulfill our goal of providing the world's most vital news, information and insight in any form, time or place, to generate the most value for our customers and produce above-market shareholder returns," Zannino said in a statement.

Kann's tenure at Dow Jones hasn't always been a smooth one. He was at the helm when the company's purchase of data provider Telerate imploded, and he was also in charge when Dow Jones made a short-lived attempt to run a TV network nicknamed S+. However, Kann and Dow Jones recovered from that misstep to form a thriving joint venture that produced a tremendous amount of content for

CNBC

.

Later the company rolled out a successful online version of the

Journal

, and more recently, Dow Jones acquired

MarketWatch

, a provider of financial news that competes with

TheStreet.com

. Dow Jones also publishes

Barron's

and the

Far Eastern Economic Review

.

The stock enjoyed a nice run from the time of Kann's appointment until mid-2000, when it went from under $20 to well north of $60, but the last four-and-a-half years have seen the shares in steady decline. Investors appeared inspired by the management change, as they lifted the stock $4.07, or 11.5%, to $39.56 on heavier-than-normal volume.

"The appointment of Rich Zannino to chief executive officer reflects his exceptional strategic and operational accomplishments at the company over the past five years, as well as his commitment to the Dow Jones core values of quality, integrity and independence," Kann said in a statement. "We are confident that he will lead the company to great success for shareholders, customers and employees in the years to come."

Additionally, the company said that based on the improved results at

The Wall Street Journal

and in its electronic publishing businesses, it now expects to exceed its prior fourth-quarter earnings guidance.

Dow Jones is forecasting a profit before items of around 40 cents a share, compared with its previous outlook of earnings in the low- to mid-30-cents-a-share range. Including items, earnings should be in the high-40 cents a share range, up from 43 cents in the same quarter a year ago.

On average, analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call expect Dow Jones to earn 35 cents in the fourth quarter.