Les Hinton, the chief executive of Dow Jones & Co., resigned Friday as a result of unrest caused by the News Corp. phone-hacking scandal. This makes him the latest executive to step down because of growing pressure rising from the story.
Hinton served as executive chairman of the British unit that oversaw the News Corp.'s U.K. tabloid newspapers that have become the focus of the scandal. He held that post for 12 years. Hinton was also a member of the board of The Associated Press and became head of Dow Jones in December 2007, after its acquisition by News Corporation.
According to the Associated Press, "Hinton's resignation Friday comes on the same day that News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks quit, following the phone hacking scandal that has rocked Rupert Murdoch's news empire."
In a statement released earlier Friday, Hinton claims that he was "ignorant of what apparently happened" but felt it was appropriate that he resign.
"He apologized for the hurt caused by the actions of journalists who worked for the now-shuttered tabloid, News of the World."
Included in a farewell e-mail sent out Friday afternoon, Hinton wrote:
"News Corp under Rupert's brilliant leadership has proved a fitting parent of Dow Jones, allowing us to invest and expand as other media companies slashed costs. This support enabled us together to strengthen the company during a brutal economic downturn, developing fine new products - not to mention one of the world's great newspapers led by one of the world's great editors, my dear friend and colleague Robert Thomson."
It continued, "However difficult this moment is for me, I depart with the certain knowledge that we have built the momentum to take Dow Jones on to ever greater things."
In response to the resignation that came as a surprise to many, Rupert Murdoch wrote an e-mail to Dow Jones employees that read:
"On this difficult day we should appreciate that [Hinton's] extraordinary work has provided a platform for the future success of Dow Jones. And his great contribution to News Corporation over more than five decades has enhanced innumerable lives, whether those of employees hired by him or of readers better informed because of him."
It is unclear where the chips may fall, but so far it does not look good for Murdoch's news empire.