News Ltd's chief operating officer, Peter Macourt, is leaving the company at the end of the year. Mr Macourt had been responsible for management of News's operations for the past decade, the new chief executive, Kim Williams, said. He was also instrumental in acquisitions, divestments and business initiatives, and central to successful negotiations for sports rights. In 1998 Mr Macourt was appointed deputy CEO, and since 2001 has been COO. His departure comes shortly after the retirement of John Hartigan as News Ltd's chairman and chief executive.

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