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James Murdoch Gives Up Role at U.K. Papers

News Corp. Wednesday said that founder Rupert Murdoch's son, James, who is deputy chief operating officer of the global media firm, is giving up his post as head of the company's scandal-plagued publishing unit in the U.K.

The company said James Murdoch will shift his focus from the newspaper business to expanding its international TV business.

James Murdoch has been seen a potential successor to his father as CEO of News Corp., but his involvement in the phone hacking scandal that led to the closing of the News of the World newspaper and has been spreading to the company's other British tabloids, has cast a negative light on his prospects.

The scandal has led to the departure of several senior News Corp. executives. Both Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch, who was executive chairman of the U.K. publishing division News International, have had to testify about the scandal to British authorities. The company has settled claims with some of people whose phone messages were intercepted by News Corp. journalists and is continuing to investigate the matter internally.

"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," Rupert Murdoch said in a statement.

"He has demonstrated leadership and continues to create great value at Star TV, Sky Deutschland, Sky Italia, and BSkyB," Rupert Murdoch added. "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."

The company said Tom Mockridge, CEO of News International, will continue in his post and will report to News Corp. COO Chase Carey.

"I deeply appreciate the dedication of my many talented colleagues at News International who work tirelessly to inform the public and am confident about the tremendous momentum we have achieved under the leadership of my father and Tom Mockridge," James Murdoch said. "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. As Deputy Chief Operating Officer, I look forward to expanding my commitment to News Corporation's international television businesses and other key initiatives across the Company."