James Murdoch, who has gone from heir apparent of his father's global media company to one of the central figures of the phone-hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., has relinquished his position as executive chairman of U.K. publishing unit News International, the company announced.
James Murdoch's role at the company has gradually diminished as details of the scandal have come to light. Last November, the 39-year-old stepped down from the boards of two of News Corp.'s British newspapers. He remains deputy chief operating officer.
Today's company announcement sidestepped the troubles that have been piling up for the Murdoch son and described the role change as part of his move to New York. The father said James has "made lasting contributions" to News International's paid digital content. He said that James would now focus on pay-TV businesses and "broader international operations."
James Murdoch has denied knowing there was widespread hacking at News International's now-shuttered News of the World, a claim that others have disputed. In the announcement, he praised his colleagues and News International's just-launched Sunday edition of The Sun, which was created to fill a Sunday gap when News of the World was closed.