James Murdoch stepped down as chairman of the British satellite broadcaster BSkyB on Tuesday following months of pressure from shareholders worried about a possible contagion effect from allegations of phone-hacking by Murdoch newspapers.
Murdoch, who will be succeeded by deputy chairman Nicholas Ferguson, said he was stepping down because he was “determined that the interests of BSkyB should not be undermined by matters outside the scope of this company.”
“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 organisation,” he said.Murdoch will, however, continue to serve as a non-executive director.
Murdoch, the younger son of Australian-born media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, came under a cloud following allegations that British newspapers owned by News International, of which he was chief executive, hacked into telephones and paid off police officers for information.
Tuesday’s step comes ahead of the publication of a report into the phone-hacking allegations by a British parliamentary committee.