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James Murdoch gives up post as News International chief

February 29, 2012 |  6:47 am

James Murdoch has resigned his position as executive chairman of News International.

Once seen as the likely successor to his father, Rupert Murdoch, as chairman and chief executive of global media giant News Corp., James Murdoch has seen his reputation tarnished and business judgment questioned by his handling of the phone-hacking scandal that has torn through News Corp.'s British newspaper unit.

Murdoch's relinquishing of his News International title had been expected given that he recently relocated from London to News Corp.'s New York headquarters. Still, the backdrop of the move was not anticipated a year ago when the hacking scandal was still relatively minor in the public's eye.

In announcing the move, News Corp. made no mention of the hacking into phones of celebrities and royal family members and bribing of public officials alleged to have gone on at the company's now closed News of the World tabloid and its Sun newspaper. 

Instead, Rupert Murdoch praised his son's leadership at other units of the company.

"He has made lasting contributions to the group's strategy in paid digital content and its efforts to improve and enhance governance programs," the senior Murdoch said.

James Murdoch said he would focus now on growing News Corp.'s international television business.

Close watchers of the Murdoch family will no doubt start analyzing what the latest news means for James Murdoch's future at News Corp. When Rupert Murdoch visited the Sun the other week in antcipation of the launch of a new Sunday edition, it was older son Lachlan, not James, by his side.


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 -- Joe Flint

Photo: James Murdoch. Credit: AFP/Getty Images