Rupert Murdoch's media conglomerate News Corp. plans to name Wall Street Journal managing editor Robert Thomson as chief executive of its publishing spinoff, the newspaper said on Saturday.

The Journal cited people familiar with the matter as saying that the name of the new publishing company, along with senior executive appointments and board members, may also be announced as early as next week, though a final decision has not yet been made.

Thomson's current deputy Gerard Baker is set to succeed him at the helm of the Journal, it added.

News Corp, one of the biggest media-entertainment companies, owns the 20th Century Fox film studios and Fox broadcasting operations, along with cable television assets, newspapers in the US, Britain and Australia, and the HarperCollins publishing house.

Murdoch has said the company intends to split into two separate firms, one for publishing and the other for the faster-growing media and entertainment operations. He intends to remain in charge of both firms.

The split is set to take place by the end of June, according to the Journal.

Thomson, who also serves as editor in chief of Dow Jones, was born in Australia like Murdoch. He took up his posts at the Journal and Dow Jones in 2008 after News Corp. purchased Dow Jones.

Previously editor of the US edition of the Financial Times and of the Times of London, he began his career in 1979 as a reporter at The Herald in Melbourne.