One of media giant Rupert Murdoch's top executives has quit as the phone hacking scandal claimed another victim.
Les Hinton, chief executive officer of Dow Jones and Co, and publisher of The Wall Street Journal, was a veteran of News Corporation.
He was head of News International from 1995 to 2007, a period in which the News of the World was hacking phones.
Mr Hinton told a House of Commons select committee investigating phone hacking that the criminality was confined to one rogue reporter.
He said: "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 apologise 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."
Mr Hinton, who stood down hours after the actor Jude Law launched legal proceedings against The Sun for alleged phone hacking, also defended Rupert Murdoch and his newspapers. He said: "I want to express my gratitude to Rupert for a wonderful working life. My admiration and respect for him are unbounded. He has built a magnificent business since I first joined 52 years ago and it has been an honour making my contribution."
Mr Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of News Corporation, paid tribute to the journalist saying: "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."
Following his departure, Dow Jones president Todd Larsen will report to News Corporation deputy chairman, president and CEO Chase Carey.