BSkyB Chairman James Murdoch to quit

BSkyB chairman James Murdoch in November 2011.

James Murdoch, under fire over his handling of a phone hacking scandal that has shaken his father Rupert’s media empire, is to step down as chairman of pay-TV group BSkyB, its news channel reported on Tuesday.

The report said Murdoch would quit after a board meeting later in the day. Neither BSkyB nor News Corp, where Murdoch is deputy chief operating officer, would comment.

Murdoch has been heavily criticized for his handling of the scandal, which rocked the British press, politicians and police last year, and he had faced repeated calls to step down from his role at Britain’s dominant pay-TV group.

The 39-year-old son of Rupert Murdoch, once seen as heir to his father’s company, has continued to plead his innocence ahead of a parliamentary report investigating the phone hacking scandal, which is expected to be heavily critical of him.

The chairman of the committee, John Whittingdale, told Reuters James had not seen the report.

“We have not given wind to anybody of what might be in the report,” he said, adding that the removal of Murdoch as chairman of BSkyB would allow the successful pay-TV group to distance itself from the wider problems at News Corp, its 39-percent owner.

Murdoch, who was previously chief executive of BSkyB, was dealt a heavy blow in November when more than 40 percent of the company’s independent shareholders failed to back his re-election as chairman.

Since then he has stood down from his board positions at News Corp’s British newspaper arm, and moved to the United States to take up his new role running international pay-TV.

“It was inevitable,” media commentator Roy Greenslade, who has previously worked for Rupert Murdoch, told Reuters. “His position was increasingly untenable.”

A major shareholder said: “I have no particular axe to grind about James Murdoch, but if this rumor is correct then at least it would remove some uncertainty from the stock. Investors could get back to focusing on the company’s business rather than its corporate governance issues,” the UK-based investor said.

News Corp’s British newspaper arm, News International, has admitted its News of the World tabloid hacked into the phones of crime victims, war dead and celebrities to generate stories.

It has since shut the 168-year-old paper, apologized and settled numerous court cases. However in recent weeks it had faced new allegations about hacking at its pay-TV operations, which it has strenuously denied.

At the height of the scandal last summer, Prime Minister David Cameron ordered a judicial inquiry into the standards of Britain’s media, while the media regulator is examining whether Murdoch and News Corp were “fit and proper” owners of BSkyB’s broadcast license.

“I do think the Leveson inquiry, Commons Select Committee report and the Ofcom “fit and proper” test are a triple whammy. He really must have known it was better to go sooner rather than later,” Greenslade said.

Sky News said Murdoch would remain a non-executive director of BSkyB and his place would be taken by Nicholas Ferguson, the senior independent director on the board. News Corp was “fully committed” to James, a source familiar with the situation said.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

FDNY debuts new fire simulator for blazes at…

The New York City Fire Department christened its newest, state-of-the-art, custom-built simulator at its training academy on Randall's Island Tuesday.

Local

Bronx cop saves baby who stopped breathing

A Bronx police officer is credited with saving the life of a 2-month-old baby who stopped breathing Tuesday morning. Police Officer Johnny Castillo, 38, was…

Local

Brewer celebrates Women's Equality Day with voter pledge

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer celebrated Women’s Equality Day Tuesday by pledging to register at least five women voters before the Oct. 10 deadline. Brewer…

Local

NYPD looking for lewd D train rider

The NYPD is enlisting the public’s help to find a man they say performed a lewd act on the D train Saturday evening. The incident…

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 12,…

If you've wondered whether Ali and Bethany knew each other, you got an answer tonight: Yes, and in a very tangled way. But many lingering…

Entertainment

Cymbals Eat Guitars Have Everything to 'LOSE'

At its most basic level, a rock band can be thought of as a family, a group of people selflessly devoted to a cause. When…

Entertainment

"Bachelor in Paradise" recap: Episode 4, 'Week Four'

Some things are hard to watch in a “Human Centipede” sort of way. Other things in an “American History X” sort of way. Does “Bachelor…

Movies

Fall Movie Preview: 10 films to see this…

Despite being awards season, the next four months bring a glut of remakes, rehashes and sequels. Here are 10 that should be better worth your time.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Sports

Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at top, Nationals climb

Wellbeing

Who is having the most orgasms?

  Single lesbians report having orgasms more often than heterosexual women but both gay and straight men still come out on top of the climax…

Home

Jonathan Adler shares his tips for a great…

Jonathan Adler took a break from boogie boarding at his beach house to tell us how to keep that Labor Day party festive.

Travel

Most popular Labor Day weekend destinations

Priceline.com released its Top 20 destinations for the end of summer, including Labor Day weekend. If you’re heading to any of these spots, expect a…

Wellbeing

Working your way to type 2 diabetes: Job…

When it comes to type 2 diabetes, a stressful job can be as risky for your health as a bad diet and no exercise. A…