Rebekah Brooks
Rebekah Brooks

Rebekah Brooks received a compensation package worth £10.9m after she resigned as chief executive of News International, it emerged on Wednesday, as the editor of The Times resigned from Rupert Murdoch’s UK newspaper group.

Ms Brooks’ package, about £4m more than previously thought, included the value of office space and the services of company employees for two years, according to News International’s annual results statement.

The results show the closure of the News of the World pushed its parent group, News International, into an operating loss of £153m in the year to June 30.

The costs of investigating incidents of phone hacking and other press abuses continue to hit profits at NI. The company’s Management and Standards Committee incurred costs of £76.8m over the year to the beginning of July, the company said.

Turnover at NI, which includes all the UK newspapers – the Sun, the Times and the Sunday Times – as well as book publisher HarperCollins, fell almost 13 per cent to £1.19bn, giving an operating loss for the year of £152.9m, compared with a profit of £113.4m in 2011.

In the year to June 30 2012, News Group Newspapers, Rupert Murdoch’s UK tabloid newspaper division, incurred one-off costs of £46.6m as a result of the closure of the Sunday tabloid over the phone hacking scandal. In addition, the company wrote down the publishing rights for the NotW by their full value of £160m.

James Harding resigned as editor of The Times on Wednesday, 10 days after Tom Mockridge resigned as CEO of NI, bringing to an end Mr Harding’s five years at the helm of the newspaper. News Corp, NI’s parent group, declined to comment, but insiders said his resignation, coupled with the losses reported on Wednesday, heightened the likelihood of it merging the operations of The Times and Sunday Times.

“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,” Mr Harding said in a speech to staff. “I called Rupert [Murdoch] this morning to offer my resignation and he accepted it.”

Almost a quarter of the £46m in charges at NGN were the result of a pay-off to Ms Brooks, the former chief executive of NI, who resigned after revelations that the NotW had hacked the mobile phone of a missing teenager in 2002.

The NGN annual report said that “£10,853,000 was payable to one director as compensation for loss of office”. NI declined to comment on the identity of the director, but there is no indication that any other director than Ms Brooks has been compensated since her resignation in July 2011.

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