Les Hinton's Resignation Letter and Memo to Staffers

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Read letters from Rupert Murdoch and WSJ's managing editor Robert Thomson, as well.

Les Hinton, News Corp.’s Dow Jones unit CEO and Wall Street Journal publisher, announced his sudden resignation on Friday amid an ongoing phone hacking scandal at the company’s U.K. newspaper business.

STORY: Rupert Murdoch Ally Les Hinton Resigns as CEO of News Corp.'s Dow Jones Unit Amid Phone Hacking Scandal
In a letter to his former staff, Hinton described a “deeply, deeply sad day,” assuring employees that he had “never been with better, more dedicated people, or had more fun in a job.” He included in the letter his official resignation to Rupert Murdoch, in which he cited a need to apologize to the victims of any News of the World wrongdoing.

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Also addressing staffers on Friday was Murdoch and Robert Thomson, managing editor of the Wall Street Journal.

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Les Hinton to Dow Jones Staff:

Dear all,

Many of you will be aware by now that I resigned today from Dow Jones and News Corp. I attach below my resignation letter to Rupert Murdoch.

It is a deeply, deeply sad day for me.

I want you all to know the pride and pleasure I have taken working at Dow Jones for the past three-and-a-half years. I have never been with better, more dedicated people, or had more fun in a job.

News Corp under Rupert's brilliant leadership has proved a fitting parent of Dow Jones, allowing us to invest and expand as other media companies slashed costs.  This support enabled us together to strengthen the company during a brutal economic downturn, developing fine new products - not to mention one of the world's great newspapers led by one of the world's great editors, my dear friend and colleague Robert Thomson.

However difficult this moment is for me, I depart with the certain knowledge that we have built the momentum to take Dow Jones on to ever greater things.

Good luck to you all and thank you.


Les Hinton's Letter of Resignation to Rupert Murdoch:

Dear Rupert,

I have watched with sorrow from New York as the News of the World story has unfolded. I have seen hundreds of news reports of both actual and alleged misconduct during the time I was executive chairman of News International and responsible for the company. The pain caused to innocent people is unimaginable. That I was ignorant of what apparently happened is irrelevant and in the circumstances I feel it is proper for me to resign from News Corp, and apologize to those hurt by the actions of the News of the World.

When I left News International in December 2007, I believed that the rotten element at the News of the World had been eliminated; that important lessons had been learned; and that journalistic integrity was restored.

My testimonies before the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee were given honestly. When I appeared before the Committee in March 2007, I expressed the belief that Clive Goodman had acted alone, but made clear our investigation was continuing.

In September 2009, I told the Committee there had never been any evidence delivered to me that suggested the conduct had spread beyond one journalist. If others had evidence that wrongdoing went further, I was not told about it.

Finally, I want to express my gratitude to you for a wonderful working life. My admiration and respect for you are unbounded. You have built a magnificent business since I first joined 52 years ago and it has been an honor making my contribution.

With my warmest best wishes,

Rupert Murdoch to Dow Jones Staff:

To Dow Jones employees,

You will have just heard that I, with the heaviest of hearts, have accepted the resignation of Les Hinton. It is a measure of his integrity and the quality of his character that he felt compelled to take responsibility even though he is far from the serious issues in London.

Les and I have been on a remarkable journey together for more than 52 years. That this passage has come to an unexpected end, professionally, not personally, is a matter of much sadness to me. I vividly recall an enthusiastic young man in the offices of my first newspaper in Adelaide, where Les joined the company as a 15-year-old and had the rather unenviable task of buying me sandwiches for lunch.

It was clear then that Les was a remarkable talent, and that he had the ability and the energy to carry him far. Little did we both realize that we would be travel companions on a journey through the world of magazines, Hollywood, television studios, coupons and the greatest newspapers on the globe. Little did we realize that our corporate relationship would end in these circumstances.

Through all of his many jobs he has displayed leadership - and that leadership has enabled us to make remarkable progress at the Dow Jones company while our competitors have been flailing because of structural change and economic crisis.

Three and a half years ago, when I stood atop boxes of photocopy paper in the rather dowdy offices of the old Dow Jones, there was no doubt some apprehension among the staff about the new management. No amount of reassurance or cajoling can convince a person to respect another - respect only comes through the reality of day-after-day contact. Respect is earned not granted. Les has earned the respect of all at Dow Jones, both for the way he conducts himself and for the way he has conducted the company.

On this difficult day we should appreciate that his extraordinary work has provided a platform for the future success of Dow Jones. And his great contribution to News Corporation over more than five decades has enhanced innumerable lives, whether those of employees hired by him or of readers better informed because of him.

Let me emphasize one point - News Corporation is not Rupert Murdoch. It is the collective creativity and effort of many thousands of people around the world, and few individuals have given more to this company than Les Hinton.

Rupert Murdoch

Robert Thomson to Wall Street Journal Staff:
Dear All,

I'm sure you will have seen the note from Les Hinton, who has led us with distinction and dignity since the day he arrived at Dow Jones.  He is far too modest a person to reveal how much he has fought for the cause of great journalism at the Journal and Newswires and beyond. We have had the privilege of working for an individual who instinctively understands the value of original reporting and fine writing, and has matched that understanding with commitment and investment.

Before Les transformed the company, there were plans afoot for hundreds of editorial layoffs and  Dow Jones was at the mercy of management consultants. In the most turbulent of times for “old” media, Les steered us back into profitability and made us a digital force around the world. There will be a certain amount of uncertainty in the coming days, but we should all be clear that, as Dow Jones journalists, we owe Les an enormous and irredeemable debt.