* Hinton stepping down after 52 years at News Corp
* Hinton ran News International during hacking incidents
* Hinton also served as Wall Street Journal publisher
* Resignation comes on same day as Rebekah Brooks
(Adds details on resignation, reaction)
By Paul Thomasch and Yinka Adegoke;
NEW YORK, July 15 Les Hinton, the top executive
of Rupert Murdoch's Dow Jones & Co, resigned on Friday after
becoming a target of criticism for the phone-hacking scandal
that occurred when he oversaw News Corp's (NWSA.O) British
"I have watched with sorrow from New York as the News of
the World story has unfolded," Hinton, who also served as
publisher of the Wall Street Journal, wrote in his resignation
"That I was ignorant of what apparently happened is
irrelevant and in the circumstances I feel it is proper for me
to resign from News Corp, and apologize to those hurt by the
actions of the News of the World," he added.
News Corp, parent of Dow Jones, has been at the center of a
storm over a voicemail hacking scandal at its tabloid News of
Another top Murdoch confidante, Rebekah Brooks, who worked
under Hinton when she was News of the World's editor, also
resigned earlier on Friday.
Hinton, 67, has worked alongside Murdoch for more than five
decades, rising through the ranks until he was tapped to run
News International in 1995, and later Dow Jones after New Corp
bought the publisher of the Wall Street Journal. [nL6E7I909A].
A person close to the company described Hinton as "the
ultimate company man" who in recent days had come to the
conclusion that someone had to take full responsibility for the
hacking that occurred under his watch.
The decision was made over the past few days, following
back-and-forth discussions with Murdoch, the person said,
adding that the final say boiled down to Hinton.
"Les saw the hurt that was happening with the company and
wanted to ameliorate the situation," the person said.
Hinton's departure is the latest dramatic development at
News Corp, which is attempting to quiet the storm surrounding
revelations of telephone hacking at News of the World. The
resignations of two top Murdoch lieutenants follows News Corp's
decision to abandon a $12 billion plan to buy full control of
pay TV operator BSkyB BSY.L.
At the Wall Street Journal, news of Hinton's resignation
was greeted by gasps and a stunned silence, despite speculation
in both London and New York that Hinton could be toppled by
transgressions that occurred on his watch.
On two occasions, Hinton addressed British parliamentary
committees about the News of the World phone hacking,
testifying both times that a full internal investigation had
been carried out.
That testimony has resurfaced in press reports over recent
days as new questions have been made about the depth of phone
hacking at the tabloid -- including allegations that victims of
notorious crimes, bombings and war may have been targeted.
Following Hinton's departure, Dow Jones President Todd
Larsen will report to News Corp Chief Operating Officer Chase
Carey, the company said. The company is not seeking a
replacement for Hinton at present.
Reuters is a competitor of Dow Jones Newswires, the
financial news agency that News Corp acquired along with the
Wall Street Journal in 2007.
(Reporting by Paul Thomasch and Yinka Adegoke; editing Carol