James Murdoch has announced that he will step down as executive chairman of News International, the trouble British wing of his father Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation empire.
In a statement issued by News Corp, the younger Murdoch said that he is stepping down so that he can focus on international TV work. Here’s the full statement:
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.
His father, Rupert Murdoch, 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 programs. 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.
It is, perhaps, hardly a surprise. James Murdoch has been under increasing scrutiny and pressure over his role at News International, the British division of News Corp which encompasses the Sun and the now defunct News of the World. Last year, he and his father were grilled by MPs including Tom Watson about phone-hacking and how much they knew.
As he said in his statement, Murdoch will now become deputy chief operating officer at News Corp in New York, a role which he must hope will be altogether less troublesome.