LONDON--Matthew Anderson, the public relations man who became one of James Murdoch’s most trusted aides, is stepping down from his senior global role at News Corp.

Anderson will leave his position as group director of strategy and corporate affairs at the end of March, according to a company announcement today. He will return to the California to “pursue new opportunities”, continuing his relationship with News Corp "as a senior advisor to the company focusing on select international initiatives and relevant directorships.”

Anderson’s relationship with News Corp, and in particular deputy COO James Murdoch, stretches back for more than a decade. As Ogilvy PR’s Asia-Pacific CEO in Hong Kong, he counted News Corp subsidiary Star TV as one of his key clients, during James Murdoch’s leadership of the broadcasting company. In 2005 he became head of Ogilvy PR in EMEA, before soon departing to head communications and brand marketing at BSkyB, again reporting to the younger Murdoch.

In 2008, Anderson joined James Murdoch at News Corp, a partnership that some observers said might eventually lead the corporation. He is understood to have played a key role counselling James Murdoch through the tumultuous events of its phone hacking scandal.

"Matthew has played a key role in many of our most important projects for more than ten years,” said James Murdoch in a statement. “He has ranged across varied and wide terrain, and has been a versatile, resourceful and highly insightful colleague.”

"It has been a great privilege to work for the world's most diverse, global and dynamic media business,” added Anderson. “Few companies so consistently combine vision with the risk-taking and grit that's required to bring about positive change and innovation in our industry. I look forward to continuing my relationship with News Corporation as I return home to the Bay Area."

"For more than a decade, Matthew has made a valuable contribution to building News Corporation's businesses in Europe, Asia and the Middle East,” said News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch. “He is a tenacious and effective executive whose counsel and skills have made a real difference."