News Corp. (NWSA)’s independent directors should oust Deputy Chief Operating Officer James Murdoch from the media company’s board, said CtW Investment Group, an adviser to union-sponsored pension funds with more than $200 billion in assets.
Auction house Sotheby’s (BID) said March 16 that Murdoch will leave its board, following demands he resign over his role in a U.K. phone-hacking scandal. It was the third influential position he gave up in as many months, resigning from the board of GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK) in January and as executive chairman of News Corp.’s U.K. publishing unit News International last month. Murdoch also faces calls to step down from News Corp.’s board and as chairman of British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc.
“The rest of the News Corp. board and British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) have not responded to the credibility concerns of having James continue to serve on their boards,” CtW Senior Analyst Michael Pryce-Jones said in a phone interview.
CtW advises investors who together own about 8.3 million Class A shares of News Corp., according to Pryce-Jones. Jack Horner, a spokesman for News Corp., declined to comment.
News Corp. shareholders in October lodged a protest vote against Rupert Murdoch and his sons, following an annual meeting at which investors called for governance changes and an end to voting practices that cement the family’s control of the company. James received the highest percentage of votes against his election to the board, at 35 percent.
In November, one-third of BSkyB’s independent shareholders voted against James Murdoch’s re-election as chairman. News Corp. owns 39 percent of BSkyB.
News Corp. rose less than 1 percent to $20.12 at the close in New York. The shares have gained 13 percent this year.
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