James Murdoch to step down as chairman of BSkyB

James Murdoch to step down as chairman of BSkyB
Sky's not the limit for Murdoch

It's all change at the top for BSkyB, which has announced that its chairman James Murdoch is to stop heading up the company.

The news comes after what has been a tumultuous few months for the entire Murdoch media empire.

The move, which has been seen by many as inevitable, is the second time Murdoch has had to resign from a high-ranking position within one of his father's companies. Back in February, he resigned as executive chairman of News International after the closure of the News Of The World in light of hacking allegations.


"I am aware that my role as chairman could become a lightning rod for BSkyB."

Murdoch has been executive chairman of BSkyB for five years, after taking over from Rupert Murdoch in 2007.

At the time Sky was quickly making its transition to HD and since then Murdoch has been very vocal about the state of TV in the UK and also the BBC. He criticised the Beeb back in 2009 saying that the ambition of the broadcaster was 'chilling'.

Since then, the BBC has signed up to offer its on-demand content through Sky, which is set to happen sometime this year.

In his resignation speech, Murdoch said that he was to leave his post to shield BSkyB from the recent criticism of News International, the company owned by Rupert Murdoch that has a minority stake in BSkyB.

Lightning rod

"As attention continues to be paid to past events at News International, I am determined that the interests of BSkyB should not be undermined by matters outside the scope of this company," Murdoch explained.

"I am aware that my role as chairman could become a lightning rod for BSkyB and I believe that my resignation will help to ensure that there is no false conflation with events at a separate organisation."

His replacement is set to be deputy chairman Nick Ferguson, while Murdoch has announced that he will stay on the board in a non-executive capacity.

The departure of Murdoch is one of many changes Sky is going through at the moment – the most interesting being its change from a satellite broadcaster to a content provider, both through satellite and the web.

Just last month it announced that its programmes and movies are set to be offered on a PAYG basis through a service called Now TV, which is a significant move away from the company's current subscription model.

Via Sky.com

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.