Beryl Cook has ankled her post as exec veep and chief human resources officer for News Corp.

Cook will segue to a role as a strategic advisor for News Corp. focusing on “organizational and talent initiatives across the company,” News Corp. said. She’ll be replaced as top HR honcho by Jeff Mook, who will be promoted from his current post as senior veep of compensation.

Cook’s promotion in 2007 to the chief HR role in Gotham stirred chatter — and some grumbling within News Corp.’s halls — that it was a sign of James Murdoch solidifying his base for the eventual handover of the CEO role from his father, Rupert Murdoch. Cook, who joined News Corp. more than 20 years ago as a journo in Australia, had worked closely with James Murdoch in her previous role as HR chief BSkyB and Star TV.

News Corp. insiders strongly denied speculation that Cook’s exit was influenced by the pressure on James Murdoch stemming from the phone-hacking scandal that has enveloped its U.K. newspapers. Cook’s departure was spurred by her desire to return to the Pacific Rim region to be closer to her family in Australia. She will initially work for News Corp. out of Hong Kong.

Mook joined News Corp. in March 2010. He reports to chief operating officer Chase Carey.