NEW YORK — The former head of defunct tabloid the News of the World is taking the helm of the New York Daily News, the longtime rival of Rupert Murdoch's New York Post, reports said.

Colin Myler, who lost his job last July when Murdoch's News of the World was shut down after a phone hacking scandal, will take over New York's largest circulation daily starting January 10, according to a memo leaked online by Capital New York, a news site.

"I am immensely proud and honored to be leading one of America's great newspapers into a new era," Myler said in the memo.

Daily News publisher Mort Zuckerman said in the memo that "the New York Daily News is a great institution of American journalism which will only get better under the leadership of Colin."

Myler's surprise replacement of Kevin Convey as editor in chief was seen by media analysts as likely to spark a new round of competition between the News and the Post, which have a similar readership, although the Post is currently widely seen as winning the battle of the scoops.

For Myler, the switch will also be seen as a poke in the eye of Murdoch. Myler headed Murdoch's aggressively scoop-chasing News of the World from 2007. Before that, he was head for five years of the New York Post.