James Murdoch quits News International

 
James Murdoch James Murdoch remains in his job at parent company News Corporation

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James Murdoch has stepped down as executive chairman of News International, the UK newspaper business that owns the Sun and the Times titles.

The newspaper publisher has been tainted by phone-hacking allegations.

The scandal led the company to close its News of the World title in July last year.

Mr Murdoch will remain as deputy chief operating officer of parent group News Corporation, run by his father Rupert.

'Too big'

James Murdoch, 39, said: "I deeply appreciate the dedication of my many talented colleagues at News International who work tirelessly to inform the public."

He added that the launch of a new Sunday edition of the Sun and "new business practices" put the company in a "strong position" for the future.

The Labour leader Ed Miliband said it was "right" that James Murdoch had resigned.

Start Quote

It implies that 81-year-old Rupert Murdoch isn't planning to retire or step aside in favour of his son any time soon”

End Quote

"News International thought it was too big to be challenged, including by politicians. That's why we need new rules in place at the end of all this process so that one organisation cannot control that much of the newspaper and television market," Mr Miliband said.

Last year, James Murdoch twice appeared before the UK Parliament's Culture, Media and Sport Committee to answer questions as part of its inquiry into the phone-hacking scandal.

Rupert Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of News Corporation, joined his son at one of the hearings.

Paul Connew, a former News of the World deputy editor, said he was not surprised that James Murdoch had stood down.

"I think you've got to look at the bigger picture here," said Mr Connew.

"Quite clearly there's going to be criticism of James Murdoch in the culture and media select committee report, which presumably will be coming out in the not too distant future, and I think essentially he's been moved out of the firing line."

The Labour leader Ed Miliband says it is now time to introduce new rules on media ownership.

James Murdoch's departure also comes as the separate Leveson Inquiry continues to investigate the culture, practices and ethics of the British press as a result of the phone-hacking allegations.

This is continuing to throw a spotlight on activities at both the News of the World and the Sun.

Earlier this week, Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers told the inquiry that evidence suggested there was a "culture of illegal payments" at the Sun.

'Nothing more to offer'

BBC business editor Robert Peston said he had been told by a senior News Corporation executive that the company's UK newspaper business "did not need more than one Murdoch in charge".

"What he meant is that Rupert Murdoch, with the launch of the Sun on Sunday, is showing that he is back overseeing the group's British newspapers," said our business editor.

Labour's deputy leader, Harriet Harman: ''James Murdoch had to go''

"So James Murdoch can concentrate on what he is said to enjoy most, which is running News Corporation's television interests outside the US."

The journalist and broadcaster Andrew Neil, a former editor at News International's the Sunday Times, agreed.

"His father was very unhappy that he had to close News of the World. He did so at James's urging - James was the guy on the spot and he decided to follow his son's advice," Mr Neil told the BBC.

"My understanding is he very much regrets that now, hence the steeling up with the launch of the Sun on Sunday.

Analysis

Pulled out of the firing line to concentrate on pay TV in other parts of the Murdoch area?

Or fall guy for the series of increasingly damaging revelations about News International's past conduct?

The interpretations of James Murdoch's departure from the chairmanship of News International will range between those poles.

Supporters of James Murdoch will argue that he has always been more interested in television than newspapers and that his move to New York is a natural progression.

But critics will say that the timing of his departure, with the Murdoch empire on the back foot in the UK, is no coincidence.

"I think Rupert, who can be just as robust with his family as he can be with editors and executives who don't have the Murdoch gene in them, has decided James has nothing more to offer here in London."

In a statement, 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 added that James would now "continue to assume a variety of essential corporate leadership mandates, with particular focus on pay-TV businesses and broader international operations".

James Murdoch also remains chairman at satellite broadcaster BSkyB, of which News Corporation owns 39%.

 

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  • rate this
    +20

    Comment number 201.

    My eyes water at the financial cost of the closure of NoW and the court costs, however, this is small beer compared to the effects on BSkyB and loss of growth oportunities. In the end I expect it is the long term reputational damage that will deliver what we all hope for - the end of the Murdock Empire and it's malign influence on us all.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 200.

    @192 firemensaction

    Murdoch could always take his empire to a country with more regard for the freedom of the press.
    ...
    Envy of the successful is a terrible blight on UK, and we seem to perpetuate this by BBC envy of Sky!
    *
    LOL! Why on earth would be the BBC envy Sky?
    Also, Murdoch isn't hated because of his success, I think it has more to do with him being pretty much 'The Root of all Evil' ;)

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 199.

    The phrase "good riddance to bad rubbish" sprang to mind when I saw this headline......but then I thought to myself "I bet he's got A N Other job on the Death Star" and upon reading the article.....oh, he has, there's a surprise......

  • rate this
    -11

    Comment number 198.

    I see the lefties are once again using anyone with Murdoch in their name as a political pawn but as you read your news from BBC they take the moral high ground and get their points rated highly.

    Of course if the BBC were phone hacking and I stopped paying my licence fee out of protest I would be arrested. Yes, that sounds like a free press to me...

  • rate this
    +15

    Comment number 197.

    Keep on not buying the Sun, maybe things will continue to improve

  • rate this
    +24

    Comment number 196.

    James Murdoch has got to his privileged position today, not on merit, but on expectation as his father simply groomed him to take over. Unfortunatley James didn't have the media in his blood unlike Rupert, and simply tagged along for the ride, enjoying the honours and power that came with being Ruperts son. If he had any credibilty he would find his own way in life and pursue his own interests.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 195.

    The Press should 'speak truth to power'. But the powerful own the press and promote a billionaires' agenda in the guise of populism. The Sun, for example, might be quite effective if it cheekily called the powerful to account. But it doesn't - it just creates an acceptance of a right-wing agenda, eg the knee-jerk attack on 'Olympic' strikes.
    This is a calculated move by Jim and his Dad.

  • Comment number 194.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +13

    Comment number 193.

    161.
    Steve Vince Cable may have been misguided in "saying" what he did, but time has proven him right, has it not!

  • rate this
    -34

    Comment number 192.

    Rupert Murdoch could always move out of Britain and take his empire to a country with more regard for the freedom of the press.
    I watched Murdoch gamble everything he had to launch Satellite broadcasting.
    How many politicians wouldhave the guts to do that?
    Envy of the successful is a terrible blight on UK, and we seem to perpetuate this by BBC envy of Sky!
    Change the subject for goodness sake!

  • rate this
    -9

    Comment number 191.

    Good luck to him. Moving into the growth area not the dying area of the business. Newspapers never matter much, other than in the eyes of the pathetic self absorbed celebrity and political class. Most people never read any of them. Even then not ever told what to think as the left in particular likes to be themselves, so imagines others are.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 190.

    164 Can you explain the commercial interest you allege? Since the BBC only gets the license fee and if News Internation closed tomorrow that would make not one penny difference to its income.
    However were the BBC to close then I may have to purchase a Sky package or buy the TImes daily for quality news - the murdochs income increases . So who really has the commercial interest?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 189.

    Why is it that this type of people, whether in Government or not, do get dismissed or step down only to reappear sooner rather than later in another better paid job? It's a slap on the face of those they have wronged, certainly!?

  • rate this
    +22

    Comment number 188.

    Throw the Murdochs out of the country now.

  • rate this
    +24

    Comment number 187.

    @155whoseagenda

    I'm still confused about why Rebekah Brooks wasn't immediately arrested when she told the commons that "We have paid the police for information before" - something that's clearly illegal.

    I'm confused why Coulson wasn't arrested too, when he covered for her. You can't do an illegal thing "entirely within the law" and he was clearly trying to pervert the course of justice.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 186.

    179. Bankers ruined this country

    I have always wondered what type of person buys The Sun newspaper.

    Now I know.

    People that can't read and would prefer to look at pictures, instead.

    --

    Yes, that is what 13 years of Labour education policy did for the country..

  • rate this
    -16

    Comment number 185.

    I see all the bright intelligent comments coming from left wing pinko's. With brain power like theirs they should have been writing for the Sun/NoW

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 184.

    He should also resign from SKY...personally I dont want News International anywhere near our media..this is a move inmthe right direction..still some way to go.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 183.

    About time.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 182.

    firemensaction (176)

    "If it was about hacking,why no similar outrage at the GCHQ which monitors(Hacks) all GB calls on regular basis?"

    At least GCHQ don't publish people's private lives (or anything at all) and don't do it to make money.

 

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