James Murdoch steps down at NI

 

James Murdoch is to step down as executive chairman of News International, it was announced today.

Parent company News Corporation said in a statement the move would allow him to focus on expanding the company's international TV businesses.

Mr Murdoch has faced intense scrutiny in the wake of the News of the World phone hacking scandal.

The company said Mr Murdoch, who is its deputy chief operating officer, was stepping down from the role in NI, which is its UK publishing unit, following his relocation to the company's headquarters in New York.

His father Rupert Murdoch, who is News Corporation's chairman and chief executive officer, said: "We are all grateful for James' leadership at News International and across Europe and Asia, where he has made lasting contributions to the group's strategy in paid digital content and its efforts to improve and enhance governance programmes.

"He has demonstrated leadership and continues to create great value at Star TV, Sky Deutschland, Sky Italia, and BSkyB.

"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."

Mr Murdoch junior said: "I deeply appreciate the dedication of my many talented colleagues at News International who work tirelessly to inform the public and am confident about the tremendous momentum we have achieved under the leadership of my father and Tom Mockridge.

"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.

"As Deputy Chief Operating Officer, I look forward to expanding my commitment to News Corporation's international television businesses and other key initiatives across the Company."

Mr Mockridge was appointed chief executive officer of News International last summer after former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks was forced to resign in the wake of the phone hacking scandal.

Mr Murdoch found himself at the centre of the hacking scandal after it was claimed he had been told that phone-hacking was more widespread at the News of the World than was originally admitted.

He had previously told the Commons Culture Committee he was not aware of the notorious "For Neville" document, which blew apart the company's stance that hacking was the fault of a single rogue reporter - former royal correspondent Clive Goodman, who was paying private investigator Glenn Mulcaire to carry it out.

But Tom Crone, former legal chief of NoW publisher News Group Newspapers told MPs he was "certain" he told Mr Murdoch Jr about the now-notorious email.

Labour MP Chris Bryant, who received a £30,000 settlement after having his phone hacked by the News of the World, said: "After all we've heard, James Murdoch's resignation is long overdue.

"On his watch, we have seen the biggest corporate corruption scandal since 1720 and historic titles like The Sun have been brought into disrepute.

"It is time he also left BSkyB. He is not a fit and proper person."

James Murdoch's close involvement, alongside father Rupert, in the family's media empire was never more visible than during the pair's joint select committee appearance last July.

But it was also clear who was in charge, as the media mogul at one point silenced his son with a mere touch on the arm to declare: "I would just like to say one sentence. This is the most humble day of my life."

Ex-minister and former National Union of Journalists president Denis MacShane, who received a £32,500 settlement, said: "The Murdoch empire, as in Greek tragedy, is collapsing in full view of an astonished world.

"The crown prince has been sacrificed to appease the public horror at what is being revealed of the collusion, corruption and criminality of the Murdoch empire as it bought politicians and police indiscriminately.

"As at the end of Citizen Kane, the sight of a great media mogul losing it is full of pathos but the Murdoch reign is drawing unpeacefully to its end."

John Whittingdale, chairman of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee, which is carrying out its own inquiry into phone-hacking allegations, told Sky News: "We took evidence twice from James Murdoch. He was very clear that he did not know about phone hacking, although he did authorise substantial payments to several of the victims of phone hacking.

"Even if he wasn't aware of the details of phone hacking, I think it caused some surprise to us that he was willing to sign off those payments without asking questions about the detail as to why it was necessary."

Mr Whittingdale said the committee's report, which will be published "in due course", would comment on the fact that Mr Murdoch claimed not to have read a key email sent to his mobile phone, which revealed that phone hacking at the News of the World went beyond a single reporter.

He suggested that Mr Murdoch's departure may be an indication of News Corporation's determination to preserve its newspaper empire in the UK.

"If News International wanted to move on, to start afresh, then his presence was always going to be a problem for them," said Mr Whittingdale.

"Obviously they've just launched a new newspaper, the Sun on Sunday. One assumes that they are still committed to producing newspapers in the UK and still maintaining a substantial stake in BSkyB.

"To some extent, the decision to withdraw James Murdoch from the UK may be connected with their wish to remain in the UK and to demonstrate that the people now running the company are completely unconnected in any way with what has happened over the course of the last few years."

News Corporation shares were 2% higher on Wall Street following the announcement.

PA

 

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
art
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Guru Careers: Senior Account Manager / SAM

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: A Senior Account Manager / SAM is needed to join the ...

Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Manager (EMEA) - City, London

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Manager...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine