Richard Dunn, executive director of News International Television, and a former chief executive of Thames Television, has left the company and is negotiating compensation for loss of office. He had worked for Mr Murdoch for just over two years.
Mr Dunn reported to Mr Chisholm, Sky's chief executive, and rumours that he was to leave circulated immediately after the resignation of his boss last month. A spokesman for Sky last night confirmed Mr Dunn had left the company, despite claims from colleagues in his office that he could not return calls because he was in meetings all day.
There was intense speculation last night that two other executives close to Mr Chance and Mr Chisholm would also soon leave the company. Chris Mackenzie, company secretary, yesterday responded with "no comment" when questioned about rumours that he was one of the two executives about to leave.
Both, like Mr Dunn, are said to be reluctant to work for the new regime at Sky. Mr Murdoch re-established direct control when Mr Chisholm resigned, appointing Mark Booth, chief operating officer of JSkyB in Japan, to take Mr Chisholm's place. It is widely believed that Mr Murdoch's daughter, Elisabeth, will fill Mr Chance's role.
One analyst, who did not wish to be named, said last night: "Everyone has now realised the analogue television game is up, and digital TV is going to be a challenge."
Sky's share-price has suffered badly from the initial defections and whispers that more were to follow. Yesterday, however, the stock bounced back, closing 15.5p higher at 453.5p.Reuse content