James Murdoch leaves News International post

Resignation as head of News Corp's UK newspaper arm comes speculation over his role in expanding phone-hacking scandal.

    James Murdoch, the executive at the centre of the phone-hacking scandal at his father's British newspapers, has resigned as executive chairman of News Corp's UK newspaper arm, the company has announced.

    News Corp said James, the youngest son of 80-year-old media mogul Rupert Murdoch, has relinquished his position at News International to concentrate his efforts on television. He will still remain deputy chief operating officer of News Corp, he said.

    The one-time heir apparent to his father, James Murdoch, 39, has been embroiled in controversy amid speculation over his role in Britain's expanding phone-hacking scandal.

    The scandal brought down Murdoch's 168-year-old News of the World tabloid and led to the arrests of more than a dozen journalists.

    Other top News International executives have resigned, but in the immediate aftermath Rupert Murdoch insisted his son James had his full support.

    Al Jazeera's Rory Challands, reporting from London, said that the news will not come as a surprise to people in the UK.

    "This is news that people in the UK have been speculating about for months: When is James Murdoch going to step down from News International?" he said.

    "It was basically thought that he was too impicated, too connected to the phone hacking scandal to carry on."

    The younger Murdoch has said he was unaware of any indication that hacking was rife at the News of the World, a claim disputed by former colleagues.

    Colleagues praised

    In a statement, James Murdoch thanked the dedication of his colleagues at the company who he said worked "tirelessly to inform the public".

    He also praised the company's latest British newspaper, The Sun on Sunday, which had its first edition last weekend.

    "With the successful launch of The Sun on Sunday and new business practices in place across all titles, News International is now in a strong position to build on its successes in the future," he said in a statement.

    Tom Mockridge, chief executive of News International, will continue in his post and will report to Chase Carey, News Corp's president and chief operating officer, the company said.

    Rupert Murdoch praised his son's leadership at News International, saying in a statement James has made "lasting contributions" to the group's global strategy.

    "Now that he has moved to New York, James will continue to assume a variety of essential corporate leadership mandates, with particular focus on important pay-TV businesses and broader international operations," he said.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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