Connect to share and comment

James Murdoch quits as BSkyB chairman

James Murdoch has left his position as chairman of satellite broadcaster BSkyB, as investigations continue into allegations of phone hacking at newspapers owned by its parent company, News Corporation.

James Murdoch resignsEnlarge
James Murdoch is the son of Rupert Murdoch. (Miguel Villagran/Getty Images)

James Murdoch has resigned as chairman of BSkyB, the satellite broadcaster said in a statement.

He will nonetheless remain a "non-executive director." Current deputy chairman Nicholas Ferguson will take over his post. 

"I am aware that my role as chairman could become a lightning rod for BSkyB and I believe that my resignation will help to ensure that there is no false conflation with events at a separate organization," Murdoch is quoted as saying.

The latest move follows his resignation in February as the chairman of News International, the branch of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation that publishes a number of British newspapers.

One of them, the News of the World, was shut down last year due to allegations of widespread phone hacking that led to dozens of arrests and a national inquiry into press standards.

The scandal also forced News Corp. to abandon its bid for full ownership of BSkyB, in which it holds a 39-percent share. BSkyB is currently under investigation by the UK's media regulator, Ofcom, to determine whether it is fit to hold a broadcasting license, the BBC reported.

James Murdoch has repeatedly denied knowing about illegal practices by News of the World journalists, though former employees have contradicted his account. He wrote in a letter to investigators last month that he "could have asked more questions," but maintains he did not deliberately "turn a blind eye."

According to the Guardian, his resignation from BSkyB is a pre-emptive move, designed to avoid the prospect of the News Corp. heir being forced to quit in disgrace if British lawmakers deliver a critical report. 

Meanwhile veteran British broadcaster Jon Snow, anchor for Channel 4 News, said on Twitter that the move was a bad sign for the Murdoch family business:

 

James Murdoch remains deputy chief operating officer of News Corp., with reponsibility for its pay-TV interests outside the US.

More from GlobalPost: Rwanda's economic miracle

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/united-kingdom/120403/james-murdoch-quits-bskyb-chairman