Sparks fly at News Corp. annual meeting
News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch told shareholders at the company's annual meeting that the phone hacking that went on at the company's now-closed News of the World tabloid "we must admit to and confront our mistakes."
Wearing a black suit with a white shirt and blue tie, the 80-year-old media mogul said there is no excuse for such unethical behavior at the media conglomerate.
"I am personally determined to right whatever wrong was committed and to ensure it does not happen again anywhere in our company," Murdoch said in prepared remarks at the Zanuck Theater on News Corp.'s Fox lot here in Los Angeles.
Much of the meeting's focus was on the hacking fiasco, which led to key executives resigning; the demise of a $12-billion deal to acquire the 60% of British satellite giant BSkyB that it didn't own; and investigations into the company both in Britain and the United States.
"I'm very proud of the culture we have at this company," Murdoch told one shareholder who asked what the scandal said about how News Corp. operates.
As expected, Murdoch said the board was against a resolution offered by Christian Brothers Investment Services to bring in an independent chairman.
Speaking at the meeting, Julie Tanner, the corporate advocacy coordinator at Christian Brothers, said the company needs "a truly independent chairman, free to challenge management when needed."
News Corp. board member Viet Dinh said Murdoch was best suited to serve as chairman and also bristled at the idea that he (Dinh) was not a truly independent board member because he is godfather to one of Murdoch's grandchildren.
"I will sacrifice my integrity for no one," Dinh said.
Also present at the meeting was Parliament member Tom Watson, who confronted Murdoch several times about the hacking scandal and suggested that computer hacking may have been done by the paper as well. Murdoch said he was unaware of any computer hacking.
-- Joe Flint
Photo: News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch delivers a keynote address at the National Summit on Education Reform on Friday, Oct. 14, 2011, in San Francisco. Credit: Noah Berger / Associated Press.