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James Murdoch resigns from News International

Stephen Beard Feb 29, 2012

Jeremy Hobson: Now let’s get to the news just coming in this hour, that James Murdoch, the son of Rupert Murdoch, has resigned as chairman of News International. That’s a division of News Corporation, which owns Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and many, many other media outlets around the world.

Marketplace’s Stephen Beard joins us live from London with the latest details. Good morning.

Stephen Beard: Hello Jeremy.

Hobson: So tell us why this sudden resignation, and does it change the succession plan at News Corporation?

Beard: No, I mean, analysts here are saying that it’s designed to ensure that James does eventually succeed his father Rupert as head of News Corp. Let’s be clear: James has resigned from the chairmanship of the British newspaper arm of News Corp., which owns titles like The Sun, the Sunday Times and the Times. The company says it’s so that James can concentrate on the firm’s international TV businesses, and one can certainly understand why he would want to do that — the British newspapers are in serious trouble because of that phone hacking scandal.

Hobson: So he stays on at the company, but that scandal you mentioned, it’s not going away?

Beard: No, it certainly isn’t. Just to remind you, it emerged last year some Murdoch newspapers — particularly the News of the World — had routinely hacked into the cell phones of, not just celebrities, but some ordinary, vulnerable people caught up in the news. That led to the setting up of a big public inquiry. And there have been some extraordinary revelations coming out of that — most recently, the claim that one of the Murdoch papers may have have conspired to obstruct a murder investigation because it involved some of the private eyes it was using in its newsgathering. So there’s every reason why James, as the heir apparent of Rupert, would want to distance himself from these papers.

Hobson: We’ll keep watching. Marketplace’s Stephen Beard in London, thanks a lot.

Beard: OK Jeremy.

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