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James Murdoch Quits As Chairman Of News International


James Murdoch is stepping down as executive chairman of News International Ltd., the British newspaper subsidiary of embattled media and entertainment giant News Corp. (NWS)

The son of 80-year old media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, who is News Corp.'s Chairman and CEO, has been holding the position since September 2009.

However, the younger Murdoch became the central focus of numerous investigations, in the U.S. and abroad, examining the failures of judgment, oversight and accountability that allowed a five-year old hacking scandal in the U.K to escalate into a full-blown corporate crisis.

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

The scandal involves allegations that 'News of the World' illegally accessed mobile-phone voice mails to gain information about celebrities, politicians and crime victims, and was charged of unethical reporting tactics, which triggered an outrage in Britain and led to the closure of the 168-year old tabloid.

The company says Murdoch has already relocated to its New York headquarters and will now focus on its expanding international pay-TV businesses. He will continue as the deputy chief operating officer of News Corp.

He has successfully reorganized the company's Asian television group STAR; expanded the company's television businesses in India, Turkey, Germany and the Middle East and strengthened the performance of the Sky-branded pay-TV platforms.

"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," Rupert Murdoch said in a statement.

He had earlier stepped down from the boards of News Group Newspapers Ltd, Times Newspapers Ltd., and News International Holdings, which are the company's U.K. newspaper operations.

He has been the executive chairman of News International since 2007 after serving as British Sky Broadcasting plc's or BSkyB's chief executive officer from 2003 to 2007. Earlier, he also headed the company's Asian television group STAR TV from 2000 to 2003. He first joined News Corp. in 1996 as an executive vice president.

In Wednesday's regular trading, NWS currently is trading at $20.71, up $0.44 or 2.17% on a volume of 0.71 million shares.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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