LONDON — James Murdoch is out of the U.K. newspaper business for good.
News Corporation, which owns newspapers ranging from The Sun to the Wall Street Journal, said in a statement Wednesday that Murdoch had resigned as executive chairman of News International, the company’s U.K. publishing unit.
Murdoch will continue as deputy chief operating officer of News Corporation and remain in New York, where he had recently relocated from London, following the evolving phone hacking scandal in the U.K.
The company said Murdoch would focus on News Corp’s expanding international TV business, including Sky Deutschland, Sky Italia, and BSkyB.
Once the rising star of his father Rupert Murdoch’s U.K. media business, Murdoch has now become the highest-profile News International executive to resign in the wake of the scandal sparked by News International titles such as the now-defunct News of the World.
Murdoch’s tabloids are under investigation by the British parliament for bribing public officials and accessing the private phone messages of celebrities and members of the public.
The scandal forced James Murdoch to shut the 168-year-old News of the World tabloid in July, although last weekend the company launched The Sun on Sunday in its place.
Later in July, both Rupert and James were asked to explain their newspapers’ practices during a hearing at Britain’s House of Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media, and Sport as part of a parliamentary inquiry into press practices.
In a separate, ongoing public inquiry, the London Metropolitan Police said employees at The Sun routinely bribed public officials in exchange for information.
“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,” said Rupert Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of News Corp.
“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.”
Tom Mockridge, chief executive of News International, will continue in his post and will report to News Corporation President and chief operating officer Chase Carey.
James Murdoch said in the statement: “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.”