JTA — The editor of the Times of London resigned unexpectedly.

James Harding, 43, was the first Jewish editor of the Rupert Murdoch-owned paper, according to the Jewish Chronicle. He made his decision to step down on Dec. 12. The Chronicle reported that Harding will remain in the post until the end of the year.

The Daily Telegraph revealed last week that Harding was close to leaving the Times. He resigned at the request of the board, with what is understood to have been a $2.1 million payoff.

“It has been made clear to me that News Corporation would like to appoint a new editor of the Times,” he reportedly said.

News Corporation, which is controlled by Rupert Murdoch and his family members, owns News International, which publishes the Times.

According to the Telegraph, Murdoch was “unhappy” at the way that the Times had covered the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World, another paper in the News International stable.

A number of former top News International staffers face criminal charges involving the illegal hacking of crime victims, celebrities, politicians and members of the British royal family.