First, I apologise that this message comes to you after the formal announcement by Rupert Murdoch late last night of my resignation from the end of this month as CEO of News International.
As you probably appreciate by now, the news appears to have leaked as the company was preparing for a comprehensive statement on its new corporate structure, which I now expect to be made shortly.
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.
I grew up only ever wanting to be a newspaper journalist and first fulfilled that ambition on the Taranaki Daily News (since both bought and sold by News Corporation). I still recall the awe and goose-bumps I felt walking onto the editorial floors of the Sun, the Times and the Sunday Times in July last year; for me, it was an honour to be a part of this business, even for a short period.
And while the Times and the Sunday Times share respect from around the world as the most prestigious titles in the industry, as I have learnt starkly, whatever its current troubles, the Sun is the economic heartbeat of this business – and by a huge margin the first choice of the British people for entertainment and news. I have also learnt that all our titles enjoy great strength in readership and journalism from across the UK and Ireland, something to be remembered from London and nurtured.
May I thank the executive team and everybody at NI for welcoming me and facing the challenges of the last 18 months – across the fallout from hacking, the economy and industry trends. I also wish to thank Ken Cowley, for many years Rupert's right-arm in Australia, who first hired me when News Corp was short of cash after its 1990 debt crisis; Lachlan, with whom I worked closely in Australia in both newspapers and pay-TV; James, with whom I worked in Hong Kong and then across Europe, and more recently, Chase Carey, who has provided nerveless leadership at a time of great stress to the company. And none of these opportunities or excitement would be possible without Rupert, who has 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. I also have Rupert to thank for sending me to Italy, where I met and married Lucia and I am now blessed with Filippa and Rodolfo.
This family is my future.
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.