David Moir / Reuters
James Murdoch, pictured above, has stepped down as the executive chairman of News Corp.'s publishing arm.
Under increasing pressure from a phone-hacking scandal, James Murdoch has resigned as executive chairman of News International, the company's parent, News Corporation, announced Wednesday.
“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 Officer, News Corporation, in a statement.
James Murdoch will focus on the company's international TV business, his father said. Tom Mockridge, Chief Executive Officer of News International, will retain his job and report to News Corp. President and COO Chase Carey.
James Murdoch, Rupert's youngest son, was once seen as heir apparent for News Corp's top job. He has been under pressure in Britain since last summer following the phone-hacking scandal that erupted at the unit which he oversaw.
His resignation comes after a new spate of embarrassing revelations in London at the judge-led Leveson Inquiry into press standards, which was ordered by British Prime Minister David Cameron in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal.
A police officer heading three criminal inquiries into reporting practices at News International testified on Monday that there was a "culture of illegal payments" to corrupt public officials at the company's flagship Sun newspaper.
The Inquiry also brought to light an email from a top in-house lawyer at News International that showed senior managers had been told as far back as 2006 that illegal phone-hacking was not confined to one "rogue reporter", as the company maintained for years afterwards, but was likely to have been far more widespread, as later proved to be the case.
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.