James Murdoch steps down from U.K. newspaper boards

Dylan Stableford
The Cutline

James Murdoch, favored son of News Corp. titan Rupert Murdoch, has resigned from two boards of directors at News International's newspaper subsidiaries. According to U.K. regulatory filings, Murdoch stepped down from the boards of News Group Newspapers Limited--which publishes The Sun, a weekly tabloid--and Times Newspapers Limited, which publishes the Times and Sunday Times.

But Murdoch, who is also deputy chief operating officer of News Corp., will remain chairman of News International.

The moves were first reported by London's Evening Standard. According to Reuters, the filings show that Murdoch stepped down in September. As the Standard noted, James Murdoch's departures mean that no member of the Murdoch family now sits on the boards of the company's U.K. newspapers.

However, James Murdoch remains on News Corp.'s board of directors alongside his brother, Lachlan Murdoch.

A spokeswoman for News Corp. did not immediately return a request for comment.

"James Murdoch doesn't step back from News International," a spokesman for the newspaper group told the Standard. "He remains chairman."

James Murdoch has faced mounting scrutiny over his handling of the phone-hacking scandal that's engulfed the company's British properties. Earlier this month, he appeared before Parliament for a second time to testify in front of the select committee investigating phone-hacking allegations.

The session stretched to more than two-and-a-half hours, as committee members grilled Murdoch about what he and other members of the company knew.

During the questioning, Murdoch was asked directly if the company would consider shutting down other newspapers--as it did with News of the World--should investigators find evidence that phone-hacking was widespread.

"I think it's important not to prejudge the outcome of any of the investigations," Murdoch said. "[But] I don't think we can rule out any corporate reaction to behavior or wrongdoing."

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