London, Nov 24: In a surprise move that comes in the midst of an inquiry into the phone hacking scandal, James Murdoch, the son of media baron Rupert Murdoch, resigned as director of the UK-based companies that run prestigious titles like The Sunday Times, The Sun and The Times.
Reports of his resignation from the directorships came as the Justice Leveson Inquiry continued to hold public depositions about phone-hacking, which, deponents alleged, went beyond the now closed News of the World tabloid from the Murdoch stable.
According to recent filings at the Companies House, James Murdoch has stepped down from the boards of both News Group Newspapers Limited, publisher of The Sun; and Times Newspapers Limited, which operates The Times and Sunday Times.
NGN was the publisher of the News of the World, the Evening Standard reported.
Murdoch is likely to come in for criticism in the report of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee of the House of Commons.
The report is expected to be released in the near future, and any criticism may strengthen calls for Murdoch to resign from the company's shareholders.
"The departures come as James Murdoch also faces calls to quit as chairman of BSkyB at next week's annual general meeting. His decision means no member of the Murdoch family now sits on the boards of the flagship UK papers," the Evening Standard report said.