As InsideCounsel noted was likely in the works just prior to the holiday break, News Corp. officially announced yesterday that Gerson Zweifach will take over as the company’s group general counsel. Currently a partner at Williams & Connolly, Zweifach also will become senior executive vice president, effective Feb. 1.

Zweifach will take over for Janet Nova, who has acted as interim general counsel for the past six months. His first order of business will be to deal with the remaining fallout from the ongoing phone-hacking scandal, which led to 21 arrests and the shuttering of the tabloid News of the World.

“We are fortunate to have such a renowned attorney join our Company as we navigate the rapidly changing media landscape,” said News Corp. Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch in a release. “Throughout his distinguished career, Gerson has earned a reputation as one of the nation’s leading litigators and a staunch protector of the First Amendment. This coupled with his wide-ranging experience and exceptional leadership skills will prove invaluable to News Corporation’s global business.”

Zweifach has been with Williams & Connolly for nearly 30 years, where he has focused on antitrust, securities, libel and commercial cases. He also has worked on a number of First Amendment cases as well as a number of high-profile cases representing both plaintiffs and defendants.

“I could not be more thrilled to join the leader in global media at such a pivotal time in its history,” Zweifach said in the release. “It would be hard to imagine a more compelling opportunity to have far-reaching impact across a variety of legal issues and challenges. I look forward to working in concert with Rupert and News Corporation’s businesses, to help ensure the best possible return to all of the company’s stakeholders.”