James Harding, the editor of the Times newspaper, is to step down after five years at the helm of Rupert Murdoch's flagship title in Britain, News International said Wednesday.
Harding, 43, told a staff meeting that it had been "made clear" to him that Murdoch's News Corporation would like to appoint a new editor of the Times.
He is expected to be replaced in January by South-African-born John Witherow, the current editor of the Sunday Times and long-standing Times journalist, media reports said.
"It has been made clear to me that News Corporation would like to appoint a new editor of the Times. I have, therefore, agreed to stand down," Harding told a staff meeting.
Harding was appointed in 2007, as the youngest ever editor of the Times. He began his journalistic career at the Financial Times, with postings to Shanghai and Washington, and joined the Times as business editor in 2006.
His departure comes at a time of increased pressure on British newspapers to set up an independent regulatory body, and coincides with changes at Murdoch's News Corporation aimed at splitting its newspaper and book publishing interests from the dominant TV and film enterprises.
Tom Mockridge, the chief executive of Murdoch's News International, announced his resignation earlier this month.
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