16 Jul 2011

Murdoch prints apology as top US aide quits

A full page apology from Rupert Murdoch has been published in newspapers, as the scandal spreads to the US where former News International head, Les Hinton quit his post as CEO of the Dow Jones.

Les Hinton was the top executive at the Dow Jones & Co, which publishes the Wall Street Journal and is owned by Rupert Murdoch. Previously he was the head of News International during the period of 1995 to 2007.

He is the highest ranking executive yet to resign over a crisis that closed down the News of the World tabloid, saw the resignation of Rebekah Brooks and forced Rupert Murdoch to personally apologise to the parents of Milly Dowler.

Murdoch prints apology as top US aide quits

In his memo to staff Hinton said that he had watched the News of the World story develop with sorrow. He wrote:

“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.”

His resignation was greed by gasps and a stunned silence by staff at the Wall Street Journal, despite much speculation that he could have been toppled by the events that occurred during his leadership.

(Left to right: Les Hinton, Andy Coulson, Rupert Murdoch, Rebecca Brooks (Getty.)

'A charming apparatchik'

Les Hinton, the reportedly urbane 67-year-old is the lynchpin of News Corp's newsprint operations in the US. He must ensure, among other things, that undertakings of journalistic freedom given at the time of the Wall Street Journal's acquisition are adhered to (on the subject of editorial independence, readers may recall questions raised nearly 30 years ago when Murdoch - having recently acquired Times Newspapers - sacked Times editor Harold Evans).

Michael Wolff, author of The Man Who Owns the News, a biography of Rupert Murdoch, described Hinton to Channel 4 News as "a quite charming apparatachik in the Murdoch organisation: intelligent, witty, and a reasonable person. He's not a rabid Murdoch-ite - although he is, of course, a loyal one." In 2009 Hinton married Kath Raymond, a one-time adviser to the former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Read more: Phone hacking scandal focuses on Les Hinton

‘We are sorry’

Full page adverts have been placed by News International in all of the UK’s national newspapers.

Headlined “We are sorry” the apology is signed by Rupert Murdoch.

It apologises for the “wrongdoing” done by the News of the World, and promises that “further concrete steps” will be taken to resolve the matter.

It reads:

“The News of the World was in the in business of holding others to account.

“It failed when it came to itself.

“We are sorry for the serious wrongdoing that occurred.

“We are deeply sorry for the hurt suffered by the individuals affected.

“We regret not acting faster to sort things out.

“I realise that simply apologising is not enough.

“Our business was founded on the idea that a free and open press should be a positive force in society. We need to live up to this.

“In the coming days, as we take further concrete steps to resolve these issues and make amends for the damage they have caused, you will hear more from us.


“Rupert Murdoch.”