Less than a day after News Corp. head Rupert Murdoch told his Wall Street Journal that the company “handled the crisis ‘extremely well in every way possible,’ making just ‘minor mistakes,’ ” the head of News International has resigned. Rebekah Brooks announced the resignation in a note to staff.
Brooks is due to appear before members of Parliament on the Commons Culture Committee 7/19 where she is expected to face tough questions about hacking allegations at the shuttered paper. Also giving evidence will be Rupert Murdoch and his son News International chairman James Murdoch.
Labour leader Ed Miliband had been calling for Mrs Brooks to quit: “It is right that Rebekah Brooks has finally taken responsibility for the terrible events that happened on her watch, like the hacking of Milly Dowler’s (the missing teen whose voicemail was hacked by News of the World) phone…But as I said when I called for her resignation 10 days ago, this is not just about one individual but about the culture of an organization.”
In reaction to her leaving her job, the British Prime Minister David Cameron thought her resignation was “the right decision”, his official spokesman has said.
Brooks’ resignation has been the subject of speculation since the phone hacking scandal intensified last week, when even Cameron said she ought to step down. In her statement, she notes, “While it has been a subject of discussion, this time my resignation has been accepted.”
Meanwhile, she was arrested 7/16 by police investigating phone hacking and bribery at the News of the World. She was arrested by appointment at a London police station and remains in custody, on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and on suspicion of corruption allegations. BBC News reports News International was not aware that Brooks would be arrested when her resignation was being discussed at the company on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week. She is still due to appear in front of the Commons media select committee.
Brooks announced she was going in an internal email to staff at the company:
“At News International we pride ourselves on setting the news agenda for the right reasons. Today we are leading the news for the wrong ones.
The reputation of the company we love so much, as well as the press freedoms we value so highly, are all at risk.
As chief executive of the company, I feel a deep sense of responsibility for the people we have hurt and I want to reiterate how sorry I am for what we now know to have taken place.
I have believed that the right and responsible action has been to lead us through the heat of the crisis. However 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.
Rupert’s wisdom, kindness and incisive advice has guided me throughout my career and James is an inspirational leader who has shown me great loyalty and friendship.
I would like to thank them both for their support.
I have worked here for 22 years and I know it to be part of the finest media company in the world.
News International is full of talented, professional and honourable people. I am proud to have been part of the team and lucky to know so many brilliant journalists and media executives.
I leave with the happiest of memories and an abundance of friends.
As you can imagine recent times have been tough. I now need to concentrate on correcting the distortions and rebutting the allegations about my record as a journalist, an editor and executive.
My resignation makes it possible for me to have the freedom and the time to give my full cooperation to all the current and future inquiries, the police investigations and the CMS appearance.
I am so grateful for all the messages of support. I have nothing but overwhelming respect for you and our millions of readers.
I wish every one of you all the best.