James Murdoch, the younger son of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, yesterday gave up his position as the executive chairman of News International, the owner of the newspapers at the centre of the UK phone-hacking scandal.
In a statement announcing his departure, the company made no mention of the series of allegations that newspapers under his control had been involved in illegally hacking the phones of a large number of celebrities, politicians and victims of crimes and in illegal payments to serving police officers.
The statement said Mr Murdoch, 39, had relinquished control because of "his relocation to the company's headquarters in New York".
News International, the owner of the UK's biggest-selling daily newspaper, TheSun as well as The Times and The Sunday Times, is currently the subject of a judicial inquiry into the activities of its journalists. The scandal led the company to close its News of the World Sunday title in July last year.
"News Corporation today announced that, following his relocation to the company's headquarters in New York, James Murdoch, deputy chief operating officer, has relinquished his position as executive chairman of News International, its UK publishing unit," said News Corp, which owns the UK newspaper company.
The statement then went on to quote Rupert Murdoch, the chairman and chief executive officer of News Corp.
"We are all grateful for James' leadership at News International and across Europe and Asia, where he has made lasting contributions to the group's strategy in paid digital content and its efforts to improve and enhance governance programmes," he said.
James Murdoch will remain as deputy chief operating officer of parent group News Corp.
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