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James Murdoch Stays on News Corp Board; but What Next?

Posted on the 26 October 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost
James Murdoch stays on News Corp board; but what next?

James Murdoch: Photocredit:

After the Annual General Meeting of News Corp, James Murdoch has managed to surive a vote for him to remain as Director – but by a very narrow margin. 35 percent of shareholders voted against him; 40 per cent of the votes that were for him came from his family. That’s hardly a surprise, when the Murdoch family controls nearly 40 per cent of the votes. The other Murdoch child, Lachlan, lost a lot of support; votes against the patriarch Rupert, however, only went up by 2 per cent.

Read the full text of Rupert Murdoch’s speech here, quoted on The Australian.

Rumblings of revolution. The scale of this revolt is enormous, said Dan Sabbagh on The Guardian.  James Murdoch has been the anointed heir for a long time. Chase Carey, who’s currently head of Fox television and film, had the backing of three to one of the shareholders – so if their opinion matters, then “Carey is the successor now.” James Murdoch will claim he was at Sky when the phone hacking scandal happened – but he then helmed “18 months of denials”. His credibility is shattered – he’s also been asked to go before another committe of Members of Parliament. That’s no way for a corporate leader to behave – and next month, maybe shareholders will show their teeth when they decide if they want to re-elect him as a director of British Sky Broadcasting.

What about Tom Watson? asked Guido Fawkes, who pointed out that his attempt to sow discontent with Rupert Murdoch had largely failed: Rupert Murdoch got 86 percent of the shareholders’ vote; Tom Watson got 46 percent when he was re-elected in his Bromwich East constituency. Plus News Corp shares have gone up 16 per cent….

Look further ahead. The Murdoch brothers (James and Lachlan), said Robert Peston on the BBC, can’t be chucked off the board, because they’re backed by Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal and their family – who between them control 47 per cent of the votes. If you look at the figures, you’ll see that some near 80 per cent of independent shareholders voted against James Murdoch. This is an “embarrassment” for James Murdoch. He’ll face another one, potentially, when shareholders will vote about keeping him as a director of BskyB – if a majority of independent shareholders vote against him, it’ll put the board in a difficult position – they’ll have to ask James Murdoch to resign.

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