Rebekah Brooks leaves the News International offices on July 7, 2011. (AP/Matt Dunham)
The U.K. phone-hacking episode has claimed its latest--and perhaps inevitable--casualty.
Rebekah Brooks, the besieged chief executive of News Corp.'s scandal-tainted British publishing operation, has resigned. Her exit comes just one week after the company announced it was shuttering the top-selling tabloid she once edited, News of the World, in a futile effort to contain the fast-spreading fallout over the paper's criminal information-gathering methods.
"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," Brooks wrote in a letter to staff that was obtained by The Guardian and other news outlets Friday morning.
"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," she continued. "This is now detracting attention from all our honest endeavours to fix the problems of the past. Therefore I have given [News Corp. chairman] Rupert and [his son] James Murdoch my resignation. While it has been a subject of discussion, this time my resignation has been accepted."
The development is a significant blow to Murdoch, not only because Brooks, 43, was something of a daughter figure for the 80-year-old mogul, who defended her in the press upon arriving in London on Sunday. Murdoch's headaches have continued to mount since the saga began to snowball last week. British Parliament is now aggressively probing the growing allegations of illegal privacy invasions by News International journalists, and Rupert and James have been called to testify before the body next week.
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