Rebekah Brooks resigned as chief executive of News Corp’s British newspaper unit on Friday, yielding to political and investor pressure over a phone hacking scandal undermining Rupert Murdoch’s media empire on both sides of the Atlantic.
The 43-year-old Brooks, a former editor of the scandal-hit News of the World newspaper and of the flagship tabloid the Sun, was a close confidante of Murdoch, who had signaled her importance to him when he flew into London to manage the crisis at the News International subsidiary.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, as well as his Labour opponents, had said Brooks should have quit. Cameron said last week that an initial offer by her to resign should have been accepted. On Thursday, an influential Saudi investor in News Corp said he agreed.
Brooks, whose youth, mane of red hair and sharp tongue have helped give her a high public profile in Britain, said in a message to staff: “My desire to remain on the bridge has made me a focal point of the debate. This is now detracting attention from all our honest endeavors to fix the problems of the past.
“Therefore I have given Rupert and James Murdoch my resignation. While it has been a subject of discussion, this time my resignation has been accepted.”