James Murdoch declines $6 million News Corp. bonus
Embattled News Corp. scion James Murdoch said he was giving up his $6-million bonus for fiscal 2011 because of the phone-hacking scandal that occurred at the company's now-defunct London tabloid, the News of the World.
"In light of the current controversy surrounding News of the World, I have declined the bonus that the company chose to award to me," James Murdoch said in a statement Friday. "While the financial and operating performance metrics on which the bonus decision was based are not associated
with this matter, I feel that declining the bonus is the right thing to do."
Murdoch, who is in charge of News Corp.'s European operations, said he would "consult with the compensation committee in the future about whether any bonus may be appropriate at a later date."
The $6-million bonus was part of a $17.9-million total compensation package that Murdoch received for the company's fiscal year that ended June 30. By declining the bonus, Murdoch garnered nearly $12 million in compensation, including a $3-million base salary and $8.3 million in stock awards.
James Murdoch, 38, was elevated to the company's deputy chief operating officer in late March, while the News of the World scandal was making headlines in Britain but before it exploded into front-page news around the world. James Murdoch, who approved settlements to victims of the phone hacking, is expected to be called back before a committee of the British Parliament this fall to answer more questions about when he became aware of the widespread illegal activity at the News of the World.
The ethics scandal not only led to the demise of News of the World, it has rippled throughout the entire media giant. Key senior executives have resigned and probes into how News Corp. operates are underway on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. The debacle also led to News Corp. having to ditch plans to buy outright the powerful British satellite broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting.
-- Meg James
Photo of James Murdoch; Credit: Warren Allott / AFP / Getty Images