News Corp legal chief quits after seven years in top job

News Corporation’s group general counsel Lawrence Jacobs has resigned from his position to ’pursue new opportunities’, the company has announced.

Jacobs joined News Corporation in 1996 as senior vice president and deputy general counsel and in 2004 was named senior executive vice president and group general counsel.

Chairman and chief executive of News Corporation Rupert Murdoch said in a statement: “I’ll always be grateful to [Jacobs] not only for his wise counsel, but for his key role in helping build News Corporation into one of the world’s largest and most successful diversified media companies.

“I know this was a difficult decision for him to make, but I understand his desire to try new challenges after more than 15 years of service to our company, to our board and to our stockholders.”

Jacobs’ departure comes at a time when News Corporation is still embroiled in legal action being brought against one of its newspapers, News of the World, in the wake of the high-profile phone hacking scandal.

The general counsel was the highest ranking legal adviser at News Corporation during a period in which its subsidiary News International was forced to apologise and pay settlements to celebrities and other victims of the phone hacking operation.

Commenting on his departure, Jacobs said: “I’ve had the privilege of calling News Corporation my home for a decade and a half. Although it’s never easy to choose the perfect time to leave, I’m proud of what we’ve achieved and I’ve personally reached the point in my life where it seems appropriate, and exciting, to try something new.

“I’ll certainly focus on my continued philanthropic work, including efforts to expand educational opportunities to underserved communities.”

News Corporation is understood to be in the process of finding a successor to Jacobs. A spokesperson said the company was looking at both internal and external candidates for the post.