Murdoch aide Rebekah Brooks quits
Rebekah Brooks resigned as chief executive of News Corp's British newspaper unit on Friday, yielding to...
resigned as chief executive of News Corp's British newspaper unit on
Friday, yielding to political and investor pressure over a phone hacking
scandal undermining Rupert Murdoch's media empire on both sides of the
The 43-year-old Brooks, a
former editor of the scandal-hit News of the World newspaper and of the
flagship tabloid the Sun, was a close confidante of Murdoch, who had
signalled her importance to him when he flew into London to manage the
crisis at the News International subsidiary.
public disgust that erupted over reports that one of News Corp's
newspapers had hacked into the voicemails of murder victims has so far
forced Murdoch to shut down the News of the World and pull a $12-billion
(7 billion pound) bid to buy the shares he does not own in BSkyB.
80, long courted by Britain's political elite, faces a showdown with
parliament on Tuesday when lawmakers on the media committee grill him,
his son James, 38, as well as Brooks to find out more about the phone
CEO of the company's Italian pay TV arm Sky Italia, will replace Brooks,
who spent more than two decades at the newspaper company. Analysts may
welcome the New Zealander's background in television, an area in which
News Corp is keen to expand, as well as his lack of direct involvement
in the scandal-hit British newspaper business during the past decade.
Minister David Cameron, as well as his Labour opponents, had said
Brooks should have quit. Cameron said last week that an initial offer by
her to resign should have been accepted. On Thursday, an influential
Saudi investor in News Corp said he agreed.
whose youth, mane of red hair and sharp tongue have helped give her a
high public profile in Britain, said in a message to staff: "My desire
to remain on the bridge has made me a focal point of the debate. This is
now detracting attention from all our honest endeavours to fix the
problems of the past.
have given Rupert and James Murdoch my resignation. While it has been a
subject of discussion, this time my resignation has been accepted."
week ago, she had told News of the World staff, who were sacked with
the paper's closure, that she would remain -- causing anger among many
of the 200 being laid off. Some accused Murdoch of sacrificing their
jobs to save hers.
struck a defiant tone on Friday, saying his media empire would recover
from a scandal over alleged phone hacking crimes at the News of the
World and an FBI inquiry into similar allegations in the United States.
has denied that News Corp was drawing up plans to separate its
newspaper holdings, which are at the heart of the controversy, from the
rest of the media company.
includes the Fox broadcast network in the U.S., the 20th Century Fox
movie studio and newspapers around the world, including The Wall Street
Journal, the New York Post and The Times and the Sun tabloid.
said News Corp had handled the crisis "extremely well in every way
possible" making just "minor mistakes" and called reports he would split
off his newspaper assets "pure rubbish."
to the Wall Street Journal, Murdoch said his son James had acted "as
fast as he could, the moment he could" to deal with the scandal.
Murdoch, who is in London managing the crisis, said damage to the company was "nothing that will not be recovered."
"We have a reputation of great good works in this country," he added.
However, rival publishers are seeking to capitalise on the company's weakness.
Daily Mail & General Trust is planning a new mass-market Sunday
tabloid to fill the gap left by the News of the World, which had a
weekly sale of around 2.7 million.
A source told Reuters the newspaper could be published as early as next weekend if a dummy this weekend went well.
"END OF A DICTATORSHIP"
The Murdochs' hold over British politics appears to have been broken by the scandal.
were forced to agree to appear before parliament after Prime Minister
Cameron said they should attend and as politicians across the political
spectrum united in denouncing the hacking that initially had seemed to
focus on celebrities and politicians but has become seen as far more
Murdoch said lies had
been told about his company in the British parliament and that he wanted
to put the record straight: "We think it's important to absolutely
establish our integrity in the eyes of the public," he told the Journal.
Secretary Vince Cable, on BBC radio, said of the swift volte-face by
politicians queuing up to condemn the Murdochs: "It is a little bit like
the end of a dictatorship when everybody suddenly discovers they were
against the dictator."
Cable lost responsibility for media policy last December after he was taped saying he had "declared war on Murdoch."