James Murdoch resigns (sort of)

Alright, that's overstating the matter a bit. But Murdoch Jr has stepped down from the boards of the Sun and the Times.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 25 Apr 2012
It’s not often the Evening Standard can boast a scoop quite as juicy as ‘James Murdoch quits’, but those are the words (probably) plastered across its business section yesterday, after one of its roving reporters made the shock discovery that he had resigned. From the boards of the holding companies that run the Sun and the Times, that is. No, we were disappointed, too.

On the one hand, that means Murdoch, who you’ll remember from such blockbusters as Leveson Inquiry and its sequel, Leveson Inquiry II: It’s Not Management Today, no longer sits on the board of any of News International’s papers – in fact, no Murdoch does. Not even Lesser Murdochs Elizabeth and Lachlan. Which suggests that, in the wake of the phone hacking scandal, the Murdoch clan is seeking to distance itself from the British press.

On the other hand, though, News International clearly didn’t think this was important enough to flag up: it squirreled the information away somewhere in the depths of a Companies House filing. And James still holds positions as executive chairman of News International (the company behind News Corp’s UK press operations), the director of the Times editorial board, chairman of BSkyB and deputy chief operating officer of News Corp itself. So he’s still got plenty to fill his time.

Actually, it’s that last role that probably provides the most likely explanation for his resignations. Having been installed as deputy COO of News Corp, James’ father Rupert had apparently made him promise to spend more time in New York, where the company is headquartered. An article published in the New York Times last month suggested that there have been ‘increasing tensions’ between the pair – so presumably part the reasoning behind this move is to placate Murdoch senior.

So not quite as dramatic as some of News International’s detractors would have us believe. Although a move away from running its UK press arm probably won’t hurt News Corp’s reputation, either…

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