Rupert Murdoch's top newspaper lieutenant in Britain is to leave his post at the end of the year.
The departure of Tom Mockridge, chief executive since July 2011 of News International, was made public by Murdoch himself.
News International publishes The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times in London. It closed down the News of the World tabloid as a result of the UK hacking scandal.
The announcement on Sunday sets the stage for a restructuring of News Corporation into two separate divisions, with a publishing arm controlling newspapers and an entertainment business controlling the company's television and film interests.
That recently announced move came in the wake of heavy criticism, including from shareholders, about the company's handling of a phone hacking scandal that erupted in Murdoch's media empire in Britain.
The News of the World newspaper was closed and a major police investigation is ongoing with court cases against two former Murdoch editors scheduled to take place next year.
New Zealand-born Mockridge's decision to leave comes amid much speculation that he was to miss out on the top job at News Corp's new publishing division.
The favourite for that post is reportedly Robert Thomson, the top executive at the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires, and a former editor of The Times in London.
Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of News Corp, said in a statement it had been his pleasure to have Mockridge as a colleague for 22 years.
"Tom has always been a skilled executive and a trusted friend. His decision to step down is absolutely and entirely his own," the magnate said.
"I am sorry to see him leave us but I know he will be a great success wherever he goes."
Murdoch, 81, added that Mockridge's long tenure encompassed "his early days with our newspaper group in Australia, his incredible work building SKY Italia," as well as "his steadfast leadership of News International".
News Corp is one of the world's biggest media-entertainment conglomerates.
A company statement said Mockridge joined News Ltd in Australia in 1991, was CEO of Foxtel from 1997 to 2000, and spent a year with Murdoch's son James at Star TV.
He then transferred to New Zealand as CEO of what was then the company's newspaper operations and Chair of SkyNZ, before moving to Italy in 2002 to create Sky Italia.
Mockridge then took the role of CEO at European Television.
He serves on the boards of BSkyB and Sky Deutschland and is Chair of Fox Turkey.