LONDON (AP) — News Corp. executive James Murdoch, under pressure over his role in Britain's tabloid phone hacking scandal, is stepping down from the board of Sotheby's, the auction house has said.
In a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, the auctioneer said Murdoch had decided not to stand for re-election at Sotheby's May 8 annual meeting in order to focus on his role as News Corp.'s deputy chief operating officer.
The auctioneer said Murdoch had been "a valued member of the Sotheby's board."
"Sotheby's will seek to find opportunities to continue to engage with Mr. Murdoch in the areas of his expertise," it said.
Murdoch, the younger son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, has been shedding posts to concentrate on his role in his father's television business as News Corp. struggles to shake off the phone-hacking furor.
Last month he quit as chairman of News International, News Corp.'s British newspaper division. He also has resigned from the board of drug maker GlaxoSmithKline PLC.
James Murdoch has repeatedly denied knowing about widespread phone hacking at the now-shuttered News of the World tabloid, though his account has been contradicted by former associates.
In a letter to British lawmakers this week, James Murdoch acknowledged that he could have done more to get to grips with wrongdoing at the newspaper, but insisted he had been misled and given "false assurances" by subordinates.
Rupert Murdoch shut down the News of the World in July amid a wave of bad publicity and plummeting advertising revenue due to the hacking revelations.