James Murdoch is to step down as BSkyB chairman following months of speculation about his future with the company.

Murdoch has been at the centre of fevered debate over his role at the pay-TV operator following his handling of the phone hacking crisis at News International.

His resignation comes despite Murdoch being re-elected to the Sky board with a majority vote of 81% at the broadcaster’s AGM in November last year.

Days before he also received unanimous backing from the rest of the management board, with deputy chairman Nick Ferguson stating that Murdoch had done a “first class” job of leading the company.

Murdoch’s departure is likely to see Ferguson become chairman with immediate effect, but some reports suggest that this will only be on a temporary basis.

Although Murdoch survived the shareholder vote at Sky’s AGM, there has been growing concern among investors that the phone hacking allegations at NI, where Murdoch was formerly chief executive, would have an impact on the broadcaster.

Sky’s majority shareholder News Corporation is being investigated by Ofcom over whether it is a “fit and proper” organisation to run a broadcaster in Britain.

Sky is yet to make a formal announcement, although it is widely expected that the company will release a statement to the stock exchange this afternoon.

This article was originally published by Broadcast.