Murdoch quits as director of British papers

Move paves way for News Corp to sell off 'The Sun', 'The Times' and 'The Sunday Times'

The media mogul Rupert Murdoch resigned his directorships of a series of companies behind The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times newspapers it was announced last night, prompting claims that he was "running away" from the group.

News International's chief executive, Tom Mockridge, told staff at the newspapers of the changes in an email circulated yesterday afternoon, which said: "This decision by Rupert is part of the preparation of the business for the upcoming restructure into two companies." The move to step down from News International and Times Newspapers was explained as "nothing more than corporate house-cleaning".

News Corporation, the parent company of News International, had already mapped out plans to split the company into two entities, so that the newspaper side of the business, hit by the phone-hacking scandal and closure of the News of the World, runs separately from the film and TV operations.

Mr Mockridge's email insisted: "He [Mr Murdoch] remains fully committed to our business as chairman of what will become the largest newspaper... group in the world."

Despite insisting it was "house-cleaning" it fuelled further speculation over Mr Murdoch's continued future at the newspaper group he used to create his media empire. It also sparked questions over who will lead the company in the future.

The Labour MP Tom Watson, of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said last night: "It's hard not to draw the conclusion that Mr Murdoch is deserting his loyal staff who are left to clean up the ruins after the wrongdoing that has been exposed. No matter how far he runs, he can never evade responsibility for creating a corporate culture that allowed widespread criminality to take place. I'm sure the few remaining acolytes he had left in London will smell betrayal in their nostrils this weekend."

The select committee investigation Mr Watson sat on described Mr Murdoch as "not a fit person" to run a major international business.

Mr Murdoch has felt the pressure from leading shareholders, most seriously when 18 of the biggest called for him to step down from the firm he built from a single newspaper in Adelaide. In contrast, News Corp's chief operating officer, Chase Carey, has been described as "a safe pair of hands" by shareholders.

Mr Murdoch's son James resigned from News International in November 2011, a move similarly downplayed by the company. He quit as chairman of BSkyB earlier this year. He had been seen as his father's preferred successor but in recent months Mr Carey, considered one of Mr Murdoch's most trusted lieutenants, has emerged as a more likely candidate.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
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

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Senior Management Accountant

£40000 - £46000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: Global publishing and digital bu...

Semi Senior Accountant - Music

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful, Central London bas...

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world