New York: Long-time Rupert Murdoch aide Les Hinton, who served as chairman of News International during the phone hacking at the News of the World, has resigned as chief executive of News Corporation's Dow Jones unit.

Hinton's resignation as CEO of Dow Jones, publisher of The Wall Street Journal, came just hours after that of Rebekah Brooks, the chief executive of News International, News Corporation's scandal-hit British newspaper division.

The resignation of Hinton, who served as chairman of News International from 1995 to 2007 and who has headed Dow Jones since December 2007, was announced in a statement by News Corporation chairman and chief executive Rupert Murdoch.

"Les and I have been on a remarkable journey together for more than 52 years," Murdoch said. "That this passage has come to an unexpected end, professionally, not personally, is a matter of much sadness to me.

"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.

"News Corporation is not Rupert Murdoch," Murdoch continued. "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."

Murdoch on Friday apologised to the family of a murdered girl at the heart of the phone-hacking row in Britain in a bid to defuse the crisis engulfing his media empire.

Brooks was editor of the News of the World from 2000-2003, when reporters at the paper allegedly hacked the phone of murdered teenager Milly Dowler -- the claim that sparked the crisis and led to the closure of the tabloid.

In a statement, the 67-year-old Hinton reiterated his denials that he was aware of the extent of the phone-hacking by News of the World journalists.

"I have watched with sorrow from New York as the News of the World story has unfolded," Hinton said. "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," he said. "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 Corporation and apologise to those hurt by the actions of News of the World."

Hinton said when he left News International for Dow Jones he "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.