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Pirc: News Corp should reject James Murdoch

September 28, 2011

Investors in News Corporation have been urged to vote against the re-election of his James Murdoch as a company director by an influential advisory group.

Pirc, the pensions industry organisation which advises shareholders on corporate governance issues, said: “In light of his close association with the phone-hacking scandal we are advising shareholders to oppose James Murdoch’s election.”

In written advice it says: “We question James Murdoch’s suitability as a senior executive and potential successor to Rupert Murdoch. As a senior executive at News International it is unclear why he did not initiate in-depth inquiries at an earlier stage and why former colleagues now directly and publicly contradict his stated position that he was unaware that hacking extended beyond [Clive] Goodman [the News of the World’s former royal editor].”

Murdoch insists he was not told about an email which indicated that phone hacking at the paper was being
carried out by more than one “rogue reporter”, Goodman.

Pirc has consistently opposed the re-election of News Corp directors with close links to Rupert Murdoch, the company’s chairman and chief executive, including James Murdoch. “Pirc’s key governance concerns focus on the position of James Murdoch as a member of the News Corp board and the implications for minority investors of continuing dominance of the company by the Murdoch family,” it said.

Family trusts controlled by Murdoch own 12% of News Corp but control around 40 per cent of shares with voting rights.

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