Tesco boss criticised by BSkyB-watchers
Chris Forrester

Shareholders’ lobby group PIRC (Pensions Investment Research Consultants Ltd) is grumbling about the number of times Andrew Higginson, second in command at grocery retailer Tesco, has attended BSkyB board meetings where he is a non-executive director. Sky’s AGM is later this week on Oct 23.

PIRC says that Mr Higginson had missed two board meetings out of 6 held, and two audit committee meetings out of 5 held during this financial year. Last year he missed 2 board and one audit meeting. "In view of his FTSE 100 directorship with Tesco and his history of missing board meetings, we have concerns over his time commitments and suitability to his newly appointed role as chairman of the audit committee," said PIRC.

PIRC is also having a go at Royal Mail chairman Allan Leighton. Mr Leighton has been a non-exec at Sky for “more than 9 years” says PIRC, and as such shareholders should oppose his re-election.

PIRC also alleges that a number of BSkyB’s non-executive board directors are not truly independent. Three are specifically named as Tom Mockridge, the chief executive of Sky Italia, David DeVoe, the chief financial officer of News Corporation and Arthur Siskind, a director of News Corporation.