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James Murdoch resigns as BSkyB CEO, heads to News Corp

James Murdoch has resigned as chief executive of UK pay TV operator BSkyB to take up a corporate position at parent company News Corp.

He will run News Corp’s European and Asian divisions, which operates publishing and broadcasting operations including Sky Italia and Asia’s Star.

Rupert Murdoch has stepped down as chairman and director of BSkyB to allow James to become non executive chairman. CFO Jeremy Darroch replaces James Murdoch as chief executive.

Analysts were surprised at the timing of the news. Investment bank Morgan Stanley noted: “We hadn’t expected this to happen this year as we had thought James would want to see the broadband strategy through a bit longer and we had not seen an obvious role for him at News Corp. What may surprise, and we think is positive, is that rather than just abandon BSkyB for the US, James remains closely involved with the company both through his Chairmanship and through his new role as Chairman of News Corp, Europe and Asia.”