News Corp. Deputy COO James Murdoch is stepping down as chairman of U.K. pay-TV giant British Sky Broadcasting Group, the latest fallout from a scandal over voicemail interception and alleged police bribery at News Corp.’s British newspapers.
Murdoch, 39, will cede the chairmanship to nonexecutive director Nicholas Ferguson with immediate effect but plans to remain on the broadcaster’s board as a nonexecutive director, WSJ said. News Corp. owns 39.1% of BSkyB.
“We are 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 Corporation shareholders,” said Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corp. and Chase Carey, president and COO, in a prepared statement released 4/3. They added, “We look forward to BSkyB’s continued growth under the leadership of Nicholas Ferguson and Jeremy Darroch and to James’ continued substantial contributions at News Corporation.”
The fallout from the scandal has brought the closure of the company’s 168-year-old News of the World tabloid, three criminal investigations in Britain, the resignation of top executives and the collapse of News Corp.’s multibillion-dollar bid to take full control of BSkyB. James joined News Corp. in late 2007 to oversee the media conglomerate’s Europe and Asia operations, including the British newspaper unit. Before joining News Corp., he served as BSkyB CEO since 2003.