Reaction: Rupert Murdoch resigns as News International director

Rupert Murdoch stood down from his role as director of News International over the weekend, increasing speculation that he is on the verge of selling his UK newspaper empire.

However, an email sent on Saturday to staff at the Times, Sunday Times and the Sun, stressed that Murdoch remained “fully committed” as chairman of the company.

Reaction to Murdoch’s announcement has varied. The Guardian‘s Dan Sabbagh thinks his decision may mark the start of a “long goodbye” to the UK, with “no likely family successor” on the horizon.

Sabbagh also question the official line, that Murdoch’s decision was nothing more than a “corporate house cleaning exercise”. He points out: “A combination of [Murdoch’s] age, lack of legal responsibilities and loss of political influence, reduce the need to leave his New York base and visit the UK.”

Claire Enders, founder of Enders Analysis, told the Telegraph that Murdoch’s move spells the “end of the gravy train”. She added: “Symbolically, it’s the end of an era, a historic moment. It will inevitabily lead to a substantial cull of costs at the newspapers.”

Andrew Neil, writing in the Daily Beast, totally rejects the idea that Murdoch is leaving newspapers, however. Describing the positions Murdoch has resigned from as no more than “corporate shells”, Neil says: “The idea that Murdoch is getting out of newspapers is fanciful, spread by those who wish it were so.”

Neil speculates that Murdoch would rather use his UK newspapers as weapons against a government which Murdoch resents for the judicial inquiry into the newspaper industry. “That would be sweet revenge indeed,” says Neil.

(Sources: MediaGuardian, The Telegraph, The Daily Beast)

 

 

 

 

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