Chief executive of News Corp Australia quits

<p>Kim Williams has stood down as chief executive at News Corp Australia.</p>

The chief executive of News Corp Australia has confirmed he is standing down from the role after less than two years in the position.

Kim Williams will be replaced in the job by Julian Clarke. He had taken over as the chief executive of the company in December 2011.

Rupert Murdoch, owner of the company, praised the hard work of Mr Williams over the course of the last 20 months.

He described him as "a steady and courageous leader at a time when our businesses have faced unprecedented pressure and economic challenges".

Mr Clarke previously led Mr Murdoch's Herald and Weekly Times group, which includes the Herald Sun tabloid, reports BBC News.

No reason has yet been given for the departure of Mr Williams from the company, with the timing of his leaving coming in the middle of an election campaign in Australia.

Prime minister Kevin Rudd has criticised the Daily Telegraph – one of the newspapers run by News Corp Australia – for its stance against him in recent weeks.

Mr Murdoch has also faced upheaval at his media empire in the UK, which has been beset with accusations of illegal payments to police officers and hacking mobile phones in recent years.

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