Rebekah Brooks has resigned as News International chief executive, the company has confirmed.
The move follows increasing pressure on her following allegations broken by The Guardian on 3 July that the News of the World hacked the voicemail messages of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler in 2002 when Brooks (then Wade) was editor of the paper.
Some 280 staff were placed on gardening leave on Sunday following News Corp‘s decision to close the News of the World. Staff at the paper were bitterly resentful that Brooks had remained in her job while their futures were placed in question. News Corp has since said that it will find jobs for the “vast majority” of News of the World staff, some 150 of whom were journalists.
She is to be replaced by Tom Mockbridge who takes up the job with “immediate effect”, News Corp said.
News Corp said: “Mr Mockridge joins News International from Sky Italia where he has been chief executive officer since launch in 2003. He was also chief executive European Television of News Corporation, overseeing News Corporation’s television operations in Europe, outside of the UK.
“Prior to joining Sky Italia, Mr Mockridge was chief executive of the publicly-listed New Zealand company, Independent Newspapers, and chairman of Sky New Zealand.
“He previously held various roles at Star Group Limited and spent three years as chief executive Officer of Foxtel, News Corporation’s Australian pay TV joint venture. Mr Mockridge joined News Corporation in January 1991, working for Ken Cowley, chairman and chief executive of the Australian newspaper company News Limited. Before that, he was a spokesperson in the Australian government.
“He started his career as a newspaper journalist in New Zealand.
“Mr Mockridge is also a non-executive director of BSkyB and a member of the Supervisory Board of Sky Deutschland.
James Murdoch, Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Chairman and CEO, International, News Corporation, said: “Tom is an outstanding executive with unrivalled experience across our journalism and television businesses.
“‘He has proven himself to be a very effective operator in his time at Sky Italia. Under his leadership, Sky has grown to become one of the world’s most successful pay TV businesses, reaching close to 5 million homes and launching channels like TG24 which has set a new standard for independent journalism in Italy.
”I believe that Tom is the best person to move the company forward to a brighter future.'”