Filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission have revealed that more than one-third of the votes cast at News Corp’s annual shareholders’ meeting October 21st opposed returning Rupert Murdoch’s two sons, James and Lachlan, to the board of directors.
Murdoch, the company’s Chairman and Chief Executive, fared better, winning the backing of an overwhelming majority of the votes cast — 86 per cent.
The anti vote against James and Lachlan is significant because the Murdoch family controls 40 per cent of the company’s voting shares. Factoring out those votes, some 70 per cent of votes cast were against the sons’ high-level roles.
“It’s very rare that you get significant opposition to board membership,” Edward Lawler, a professor at USC’s Marshall School of Business told the Los Angeles Times. “The board now finds itself in a sticky situation. This is clearly a challenge by shareholders for the board to do something to try to establish some credibility.”