Exec held position since July 2011

News Intl. CEO Tom Mockridge will ankle his post at the end of the year, News Corp. announced on Sunday.

Mockridge, who had held his post since July 2011, had been seen as the top choice to run News Corp.’s new publishing division. The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday that its own managing editor Robert Thomson would take that spot.

News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch called Mockridge’s decision “absolutely and entirely his own” in a statement announcing the exec’s exit.

“Whether it was his early days with our newspaper group in Australia, his incredible work building SKY Italia, or his steadfast leadership of News Intl., Tom has always been a skilled executive and a trusted friend,” Murdoch said.

Mockridge joined News Ltd in Australia in 1991 and later became CEO of Foxtel from 1997 to 2000. He then spent a year at Star TV before moving on to other posts at the conglom.

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