NBC News president Deborah Turness has suspended Brian Williams for six months as managing editor and anchor of NBC Nightly News.

“The suspension will be without pay and is effective immediately,”; Turness stated in a memo released Tuesday. “As I’m sure you understand, this was a very hard decision. Certainly there will be those who disagree. But we believe this suspension is the appropriate and proportionate action.”;

Lester Holt, who began filling in for Williams on February 9, will continue as the program’s interim anchor.

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams’ credibility continues to erode in the wake of revelations that his oft-told story of being in a helicopter that drew fire while he reported from Iraq was entirely fabricated. In the latest development, The Hollywood Reporter is reporting he’ll be “stepping away”; from the evening newscast for an unspecified period of time.

When the pilot of a helicopter that transported the anchor in Iraq disputed Williams’ story that the copter was fired on by Iraqi troops, Williams initially offered an apology, claiming that he misremembered the incident and mixed up the real-life event with a story on which he was reporting.

After his apology drew criticism, Williams subsequently recanted his story. NBC News has launched a “fact-checking”; investigation into its anchor, who reportedly earns $10 million per year.

Today, Williams released a statement announcing he’ll be taking a break from anchoring NBC Nightly News. Lester Holt has been tapped to fill in.

“In the midst of a career spent covering and consuming news, it has become painfully apparent to me that I am presently too much a part of the news, due to my actions,”; said Williams in his statement. “As managing editor of NBC Nightly News, I have decided to take myself off of my daily broadcast for the next several days, and Lester Holt has kindly agreed to sit in for me to allow us to adequately deal with this issue. Upon my return, I will continue my career-long effort to be worthy of the trust of those who place their trust in us.”;