News Corp. board of directors signals support of Murdoch and management
News Corp.'s board of directors said it was standing behind Rupert Murdoch and his management team.
Looking to put to rest rumors and speculation that an executive shake-up is in the works at embattled News Corp., Viet Dinh, an independent director of the media conglomerate, issued a statement on behalf of the board saying, "We are united in support of the senior management team to address these issues."
The statement came just hours after the board had retained the New York law firm Debevoise & Plimpton to represent itself.
While that move was seen as a sign of a split in the board of News Corp., as likely a scenario is that the independent members of the board need their own counsel should there be shareholder lawsuits filed against the company in the wake of the scandal.
The board said it and News Corp. were "shocked and outraged by the allegations concerning the News of the World" and that the two were "singularly aligned and committed to doing the right thing."
News Corp.'s stock and market capitalization have taken a pounding over the last week as more details of the extent of the phone hacking by News of the World was revealed. The company also had its plans to buy British Sky Broadcasting derailed and key executives have resigned, including one -- former News International head Rebekah Brooks -- who was ultimately arrested.
Earlier Tuesday, Murdoch and his son James appeared before Parliament to apologize and try to make clear that they were unaware of the extent of the hacking going on by News of the World operatives. Besides members of the royal family and celebrities, the paper has been accused of hacking into voice mails of crime and terrorism victims and their families.
Asked if he was to blame, Rupert Murdoch said "No." When asked who should take the fall, Murdoch replied, "the people I trusted and the people they trusted."
-- Joe Flint
Photo: News Corp. headquarters in New York. Credit: Stephen Yang / Bloomberg