James Murdoch
James Murdoch Reuters

James Murdoch has stepped down as executive chairman of News International.

The move follows almost a year of speculation after the company became embroiled in the phone-hacking scandal at its flagship Sunday paper, the News of the World.

A statement from News Corp reveals the decision from Murdoch was to "focus on expanding International TV businesses".

Murdoch will remain as deputy chief operating officer of parent group News Corporation.

The resignation is the latest twist in a turbulent year for James Murdoch, his father, Rupert Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of News Corp, the holding company, and News International's UK media operations.

In a statement, News International said:

"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.

"Tom Mockridge, chief executive officer of News International, will continue in his post and will report to News Corporation president and COO Chase Carey."

Rupert Murdoch said the company was grateful for his son's "lasting contributions" to the group's digital strategy.

"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 programs

"He has demonstrated leadership and continues to create great value at Star TV, Sky Deutschland, Sky Italia, and BSkyB. Now that he has moved to New York, James will continue to assume a variety of essential corporate leadership mandates, with particular focus on important pay-TV businesses and broader international operations."

In a statement, Murdoch, 39, thanked the dedication of his colleagues who he said worked "tirelessly to inform the public." He also praised the company's Sun on Sunday newspaper, which had its first edition last weekend.

"With the successful launch of The Sun on Sunday and new business practices in place across all titles, News International is now in a strong position to build on its successes in the future."

He added: "I look forward to expanding my commitment to News Corporation's international television businesses and other key initiatives across the Company."

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