James Murdoch has stepped down from his role as chairman of BSkyB as the fallout from the phone hacking scandal continues to affect the family businesses.
The broadcasting giant announced the board changes after a meeting this afternoon.
Murdoch will remain on the board as a non-executive director of the company. Previous deputy chairman Nicholas Ferguson has already been named as his replacement.
Tom Mockridge, who joined the board in February 2009 and also runs News International, has been appointed as deputy chairman.
In his resignation letter, Murdoch said he was proud of what the company achieved over his time at the helm – as chief executive and chairman.
As attention continues to be paid to past events at News International, I am determined that the interests of BSkyB should not be undermined by matters outside the scope of this Company.
I am aware that my role as Chairman could become a lightning rod for BSkyB and I believe that my resignation will help to ensure that there is no false conflation with events at a separate organisation.
Murdoch, son of media tycoon Rupert, has been under pressure for months because of the phone hacking scandal which engulfed the News of the World and the management structure of parent company News International.
He stepped down as the executive chairman of News International in February but remains the Deputy Chief Operating Officer of News Corporation, of which News International is a subsidiary.
At the time of that resignation, the company said that the 39-year-old would be concentrating on the international television business.
News Corporation owns a 39 per cent stake in BSkyB.
The board noted that it continues to support Murdoch and its belief is his integrity remains strong. As he will remain on the board, Murdoch will not escape an investigation by the UK’s media regulator Ofcom into whether he is a “fit and proper” person to sit on the board of BSkyB.
Murdoch’s resignation in full:
As you know, my actions as a Director of BSkyB have been governed at all times by what is in the best interests of the Company, its customers and its shareholders. I have been privileged to serve first as Chief Executive and then as Chairman of this outstanding company and I am proud of what we have achieved over this period. We have invested to create choice for many millions of customers, grown our contribution to life in the UK and significantly increased returns for shareholders.
I have now decided that this is the right time for me to step aside as Chairman and, with the support of the Board and shareholders, continue to serve the Company as a Non-Executive Director. As attention continues to be paid to past events at News International, I am determined that the interests of BSkyB should not be undermined by matters outside the scope of this Company.
I have been transparent in my evidence and have behaved ethically at all times. However, there continues to be extensive and voluminous commentary around these matters. I am aware that my role as Chairman could become a lightning rod for BSkyB and I believe that my resignation will help to ensure that there is no false conflation with events at a separate organisation.
BSkyB is a great success story and its positive contribution to British broadcasting, and to the country more broadly, should not be questioned. With a strong Board and outstanding management team, I am confident that the Company will achieve even more in the future. I look forward to making a continued contribution in my role as a Non-Executive Director.