James Murdoch quits as director of UK papers: documents
James Murdoch has resigned as a director of several British newspapers including The Sun and The Times, documents and sources said Wednesday, in the latest shake-up at his father Rupert's empire.
But despite facing pressure over the phone-hacking scandal at the now-defunct News of the World tabloid, James remains overall chairman of News International, the British newspaper arm of US-based News Corporation.
According to documents filed at Company House, Britain's main register of companies, in late September, James stepped down as director of News Group Newspapers Limited, publisher of The Sun, and Times Newspapers Limited, which operates The Times and Sunday Times.
The Sun tabloid is the biggest-selling newspaper in Britain, while the Times is an upmarket daily.
A source close to News Corp. confirmed the details, but rejected suggestions that James Murdoch's resignation leant weight to speculation that the company is planning to sell off its British newspapers.
The source said the fact that he was staying in the "juicy" role of News International chairman, and also remaining on the editorial board of Times Newspapers, showed the company's commitment to its UK interests.
His resignation was partly because he was required to spend more time in the United States because of his appointment earlier this year as deputy chief operating officer of News Corp, the source added.
News Group was the publisher of the News of the World, which was shut down in July amid a stream of allegations about the illegal hacking of voicemails.
James Murdoch's position as his father's heir apparent has appeared increasingly shaky in recent months, and he faces a vote on whether he should continue as chairman of pay TV giant BSkyB on November 29.
Earlier this month he appeared before a committee of British lawmakers, where he rejected claims that he was like a "mafia boss" and denied misleading them about the extent of his knowledge of hacking at the News of the World.
© 2011 AFP