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04-04-2012, 10:56 AM #1
James Murdoch resigns as BSkyB chairman
Media executive James Murdoch, under pressure over his role in Britain's tabloid phone hacking scandal , has stepped down as chairman of British Sky Broadcasting PLC, the company announced on Tuesday.
BSkyB said he would be replaced as chairman by Nicholas Ferguson, the previous deputy chairman. Murdoch remains a member of the BSkyB board.
It was the latest setback for Murdoch, 39, a top executive in his father Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. global media empire. Murdoch - the former head of his father's British newspaper division - has been facing severe criticism as a result of the phone hacking scandal that brought down the company's News of the World tabloid in Britain and led to the arrests of scores of its journalists.
Murdoch said in a letter to the BSkyB board that he was "determined that the interests of BSkyB should not be undermined by matters outside the scope of this company."
"I am aware that my role as chairman could become a lightning rod for BSkyB and I believe that my resignation will help to ensure that there is no false conflation with events at a separate organization," he said.
Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. president Chase Carey said in a brief statement they were "grateful for James Murdoch's successful leadership of BSkyB."
"He has played a major role in propelling the company into the market-leading position it enjoys today and in the process has been instrumental in creating substantial value for News Corp. shareholders," they said. News Corp. owns 39 percent of BSkyB.
James Murdoch quit as chairman of News International, News Corp.'s British newspaper division in February. At the time, he indicated he was going to concentrate on managing parts of his father's extensive television businesses.
He has also stepped down from the boards of auctioneer Sotheby's and prominent pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline PLC but remains deputy chief operating officer of News Corp. and chairman and CEO, International, at the company.