JAMES MURDOCH HAS stepped down as the executive chairman of News International, it has been confirmed.
The son of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has been under pressure in recent months due to the ongoing phone hacking scandal in the UK. He remains the Deputy Chief Operating Officer of News Corporation, of which News International is a subsidiary.
In a short statement, News International confirmed that Murdoch junior would now be concentrating on the international television business but would be relinquishing his interest in the UK publication unit of the business.
“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 programs,” Rupert Murdoch said.
“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,” Murdoch senior added.
The 39-year-old Murdoch did not accompany his father on his recent trip to the UK where he oversaw the launch of the Sun on Sunday newspaper.
He has been at the centre of controversy over just how much he knew about the practice of phone hacking at the now-shuttered News of The World newspaper.
Last December it was disclosed that Murdoch junior received a series of emails which indicated that phone hacking spread beyond the remit of one rogue reporter at the newspaper – the so-called ‘For Neville’ emails.
However he has denied having read them.
The man himself said in a short statement today that he was looking forward to focusing on News Corporation’s television business.
“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.
“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.”