James Murdoch resigned as News International’s executive chairman Feb. 29, the Associated Press reported. News International is the UK branch of News Corp. and Murdoch is the son of News Corp’s CEO Rupert Murdoch.
James Murdoch will still be News Corp’s deputy chief operating officer, however, the AP noted. The BBC added that “James Murdoch also remains chairman at satellite broadcaster BSkyB, of which News Corporation owns 39%.”
“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.”
Reuters noted that the statement about James Murdoch’s future role in the company doesn’t include any role in publishing. The Guardian wrote that the “move sees him give up responsibility for News Corp’s crisis-hit British newspaper operation.”
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The AP described James Murdoch as the “one-time heir apparent to his father” at News Corp. Last year, he announced the July 2011 closing of News International’s News of the World amidst growing accusations of phone hacking by the newspaper.
James Murdoch has been the chairman since Dec. 2007, according to the Guardian. While phone hacking at News International started before then, “he presided over a period in 2009 and 2010 where News International denied again and against the phone hacking was more widespread,” the Guardian noted.
Murdoch’s knowledge or lack of knowledge have been questioned the past year as the phone hacking scandal has grown, we have written. He approved a $1.1 million settlement in 2009 to Professional Footballers’ Association CEO Gordon Taylor. Taylor’s lawyers had evidence that “more than one journalist at the News of the World knew Taylor’s phone had been hacked,” Bloomberg wrote.
We wrote in July 2011 about Murdoch’s testimony to Parliament about the scandal. Shortly after, two former News of the World employees claimed Murdoch gave bad information in his testimony because Murdoch said he didn’t know that there was evidence of widespread phone hacking. Instead, the two former employees, former editor Colin Myler and former legal manager Tom Crone, said Murdoch did see an e-mail, referred to as “For Neville,” which had evidence of hacking. In Murdoch’s follow-up testimony in November, he denied he knew how widespread phone hacking was at News International’s News of the World and that he didn’t know the importance of the “for Neville” e-mail, as we wrote. The Guardian’s Roy Greenslade summarized Murdoch’s follow-up testimony as admitting “there had been sins, for which he was duly sorry, but they were not his.”
We wrote in November of last year when James Murdoch resigned from the boards of News Group Newspapers Limited and Times Newspapers Limited. News Group Newspapers publishes the Sun and published News of the World.