Mockridge resigns because uncomfortable with role

Rebekah Brooks' replacement tells staff he is unhappy with job offered to him in News Corporation's overhaul

Tom Mockridge resigned as News International chief executive because Rupert Murdoch's overhaul of parent company News Corporation "does not offer me a role I am comfortable with".

Mockridge, whose surprise resignation was confirmed late on Sunday, told News International staff in an email on Monday that he felt he had made enough of a contribution to the company to leave.

"To be direct, the reason I am leaving is that the new structure does not offer me a role I am comfortable with and, after 22 years with the company in five countries, I feel I have made enough of a contribution to make a personal choice to go," he said in the email.

Mockridge's resignation takes place during a radical overhaul of News Corp's newspaper and publishing business expected to be confirmed later on Monday, as it is prepared for a spin-off from the company's film and TV assets.

The Wall Street Journal's managing editor Robert Thomson is expected to be confirmed as the head of this new publishing business, which will also see a new boss in charge of News Corp's British titles, including the Sun, the Times and the Sunday Times.

In the email to staff, Mockridge described the Sun as "the economic heartbeat of our business" and said News International must position itself as a business that is "economically indifferent as to whether customers buy print or digital".

Mockridge is widely credited with having stabilised News International since he took over from Rebekah Brooks in June 2011, when the company was in turmoil at the height of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal.

Mockridge said he still recalls the "awe and goosebumps" when he first walked onto the editorial floors of the Sun, the Times and the Sunday Times last year.

He praised Chase Carey, News Corp's chief operating officer, for providing "nerveless leadership at a time of great stress to the company". Mockridge also thanked Rupert Murdoch, for whom he has worked since 1988, for "the vision, the guts to make risky investments but also the willingness to put great confidence in me (and others like me) to get on with it".

He added: "At NI you've heard me talk a lot about positive opportunities for the future, for both our print and digital editions. I fervently believe this. NI must position itself so that as a business it is economically indifferent as to whether customers buy print or digital.

"When I came here the company was already well advanced on this transition, and in the past 18 months we have accelerated the change. NI was the market leader before the turmoils of last year, still is, and I am absolutely certain, as more changes come to our industry, will continue to lead as the biggest publisher in the UK."


Josh Halliday

The GuardianTramp

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