James Murdoch Resigns as Executive Chairman of News International

Under increasing pressure from the phone-hacking scandal that broke last year, James Murdoch stepped down Wednesday from his post as executive chairman of News International, the UK-based subsidiary of News Corporation. Murdoch is the youngest son of billionaire Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of News Corporation, and has long been viewed as the heir apparent to his father’s media empire.

“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,” the elder Murdoch said in a statement. James will stay on with the company and focus on its international television business, Murdoch said.

The younger Murdoch’s resignation comes after a batch of new revelations were revealed this week at an inquiry into press standards. A police officer who has been investigating the phone-hacking allegations testified at the inquiry that there was a series of illegal bribes paid by News International employees to corrupt public officials, mainly from staff at the company’s Sun newspaper. The inquiry also revealed an email from a top in-house lawyer at News International that showed senior managers had been informed as far back as 2006 that illegal phone-hacking was not confined to one “rogue reporter,” as the company maintained for years afterward.