Murdochs continue newspaper retreat

By staff

Rupert Murdoch has taken another step back from the British newspapers market this weekend.

The media tycoon whose publications have been at the centre of the phone-hacking scandal will no longer have an active role in overseeing his UK titles including the Times and the Sun, it was announced to staff in an email yesterday.

In the wake of the phone-hacking scandal the Murdochs are reorganising their media empire, splitting their lucrative TV and film business from the troubled publishing side.

Rupert Murdoch will remain chairman of both companies but will not be chief executive of the publishing company.

A spokesperson said: "This is nothing more than a corporate house-cleaning exercise prior to the company split."

But analysts said he was walking away from publications that he had pledged to protect.

Tom Watson, the campaigning Labour MP, commented: "He's jettisoning those parts of the company that have become an embarrassment and he's leaving those people that stuck with him for many decades behind."

The email sent to staff yesterday said the move was "part of the preparation of the business for the upcoming restructure into two companies".

It added that Murdoch "remains fully committed to our business as chairman of what will become the largest newspaper and digital group in the world and we look forward to seeing him in London over the Olympic Games".

This is the latest in a series of moves which Murdoch and his son James have made away from senior positions at his companies, however.

James quit as chairman of News International in March before resigning as chairman of BSkyB the following month.