News Int'l CEO quits after Prince Alwaleed appeal

Saudi billionaire who holds 7% stake in News Corp earlier said Rebekah Brooks 'had to go'
Prince Alwaleed greets News Corps Rupert Murdock at an Abu Dhabi media conference
By Andy Sambidge
Fri 15 Jul 2011 10:12 AM

Rebekah Brooks,
Rupert Murdoch's most senior newspaper executive in Britain and close
confidante, quit News Corp on Friday just hours after being urged to step down by major shareholder Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

Her resignation is the latest twist in the saga over a phone hacking scandal that
has rocked Murdoch's global media empire.

Murdoch's company had
repeatedly backed Brooks to remain as chief executive of the company's
British newspaper arm despite her being editor of the tabloid at the
heart of the scandal when some of the gravest offences were alleged to
have occurred.

On Thursday night, Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed said Brooks "had to go".

"The indications are for her involvement in this matter is explicit then for sure she has to go, you bet she has to go," News Corp's second largest shareholder said of Brooks on BBC's Newsnight programme.

"Ethics to me is very important, definitely. I will not tolerate to deal with a company that has a lady or a man that has any sliver of doubt on her or his integrity," Alwaleed said.

On her decision to quit, she said: "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.

"Therefore
I have given Rupert and James Murdoch my resignation. While it has been
a subject of discussion, this time my resignation has been accepted."

She will be replaced by Sky Italia Chief Executive Tony Mockridge, News Corp said.

Rupert Murdoch and his son James Murdoch, deputy chief operating officer, must “cooperate fully” with inquiries into the phone hacking scandal at the company’s newspapers, Prince Alwaleed also said in the BBC interview.

“We hope as this unfolds that the truth will come out,” Alwaleed, who has a 7 percent voting stake in News Corp, he told the BBC.

“The facts will come out imminently.” It is “very important to me,” he said.

However, he added that from his dealings with the Murdochs, he found it "almost impossible" for them to have known about the goings-on at the now-closed News of the World tabloid newspaper in the UK.

News Corp’s bid for buying control of British Sky Broadcasting Group “is shelved, it is not dead,” Alwaleed said, adding that he wouldn’t tell management what to do.

Brooks, who is still due to face MPs next week over claims that the now defunct News of the World newspaper hacked phones while she was editor, was the chief executive of News International, the British newspaper arm of News Corp.

The phone-hacking scandal escalated on Thursday after the FBI announced it was to launch an investigation to find out if News Corp titles hacked into the phones of US citizens.

 

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