Murdoch survives one-third vote revolt

James Murdoch survives as chair of BSkyB with a majority of 81 per cent – though this implies one third of non-News Corp shareholders wanted him out.

There have been calls for him to resign his role amid fears that his links to the inquiry into phone hacking at the UK newspaper business, will damage BSkyB’s reputation. There are also general governance concerns on the independence of a chairman representing a 40 per cent shareholder and fears he may be dragged further into scandal – there are stories in today’s press about News International newspapers hacking into politicians and others personal computers.

Several major UK institutional investors, including Legal & General and Standard Life have declared against Murdoch’s continued tenure. Standard Life said “we were concerned that James Murdoch remains chairman of the board and that we should like to see a new and independent chairman appointed…. the unsuccessful bid approach from News Corporation had magnified the conflicts of interest which the independent non-executive directors have to deal with and, therefore, that it is inappropriate that the group’s board (or indeed the board of any company) is led by a representative of its largest shareholder and putative offeror.” They said their concerns had been heightened by Murdoch’s entanglement in the phone hacking scandal.