NEW YORK (AP) _ Fox News President Joe Peyronnin said Thursday he is leaving the fledgling division he joined a year ago and helped build into a national news operation.

Peyronnin's exit comes less than a month after News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch's Jan. 30 appointment of former CNBC president Roger Ailes as chairman and chief executive of Fox News.

``They wanted me to stay, but at the end of the day, I wanted to lead,'' Peyronnin said. ``Roger and I are very similar, stylistically. I think it's in my best interest and his best interest if I go off to some new challenge.''

Peyronnin said he had stayed on to smooth the transition period, and to oversee Fox's first-ever coverage of the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire presidential primary. He said he didn't know what his next job would be.

Under Peyronnin's tenure, Fox News began national election coverage, providing affiliates with customized news ``packages'' and network feeds for local evening and late newscasts.

``I respect Joe's decision,'' Ailes said. ``He's created a good foundation from which to build. ... I appreciate Joe's help in the transition and I wish him all the best.''