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Murdoch steps down as BSkyB chairman

James Murdoch has relinquished his position as chairman of BSkyB saying that he could become a lightning rod for BSkyB amid the phonehacking scandal still surrounding News Corp’s UK newspaper interests, reports.

The new chairman will be Nicholas Ferguson, who has been deputy chairman since June 2010, and joined the BSkyB board in June 2004.

Ferguson is chairman of the private equity group SVG Capital and was formerly chairman of Schroder Ventures. He is also chairman of the Courtauld Institute of Art and the Institute of Philanthropy.

In a statement Murdoch, who is understood to have stepped down of his own accord, said he was proud of his achievements at the company. “As attention continues to be paid to past events at News International, I am determined that the interests of BSkyB should not be undermined by matters outside the scope of this Company.” He added: “I am aware that my role as Chairman could become a lightning rod for BSkyB and I believe that my resignation will help to ensure that there is no false conflation with events at a separate organisation.”

Murdoch will continue on the board as a non-executive director.