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The Associated Press July 15, 2011, 5:27AM ET

Embattled News Intl CEO Rebekah Brooks resigns

Rebekah Brooks has resigned as chief executive of Rupert Murdoch's embattled British newspapers. She is the biggest casualty so far in the phone hacking scandal at a Sunday British tabloid.

Murdoch had defended Brooks in the face of demands from politicians that she step down, and had previously refused to accept her resignation.

Brooks was editor of News of the World between 2000 and 2003, the time of the most explosive allegation to hit Murdoch's News Corp. empire, and she has been in charge of News International's four British newspapers since 2007.

Tom Mockridge, currently chief executive of News Corp.'s Sky Italia television unit, was appointed to succeed Brooks.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

LONDON (AP) -- News International says that CEO Rebekah Brooks has resigned.

She is the most prominent victim so far of the U.K. tabloid journalism scandal racing through Rupert Murdoch's media empire.

The company confirmed that the Murdoch protege, who served as News International's chief executive, had handed in her resignation.

In a letter sent to staff, Brooks said she was leaving the company because her desire to stay on was putting the reputation of the company at risk.

She said "my desire to remain on the bridge has made me a focal point of the debate. This is now detracting attention from all our honest endeavors to fix the problems of the past."

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