Rupert Murdoch has resigned from a string of directorships controlling his News Corporation’s UK newspapers.
Mr Murdoch, 81, quit directorships at NI Group Ltd, NewsCorp Investments and Times Newspaper Holdings on Friday.
News Corp plans to split into two firms, separating its newspaper and book publishing interests from its now dominant TV and film enterprises.
Mr Murdoch is expected to chair both businesses but to be chief executive only of the TV and film side.
News International has sought to play down the significance of the resignations.
“This is nothing more than a corporate house-cleaning exercise prior to the company split.”A spokesman said: “Last week, Mr Murdoch stepped down from a number of boards, many of them small subsidiary boards, both in the UK and US.
Media commentator Steve Hewlett told the BBC it was “no surprise” News Corporation was moving away from its newspaper investments because declining circulation in the industry and the phone-hacking scandal had made for “a nightmare”.