James Murdoch gets support from BSkyB board
The board of British Sky Broadcasting is rallying around embattled James Murdoch, who serves as chairman of the satellite broadcaster. BSkyB is 40% owned by News Corp., where Murdoch is deputy chief operating officer.
Murdoch has been under fire for his handling of the phone hacking scandal at News Corp.'s now-shuttered News of the World tabloid, over which he has oversight in his role at the media giant, where his father, Rupert Murdoch, is chairman and chief executive.
In a letter to shareholders, BSkyB Deputy Chairman Nicholas Ferguson pledged the board’s continuing support for Murdoch and asked shareholders to vote to keep him as chairman of BSkyB at the annual general meeting on Nov. 29. Murdoch has received high marks from investors for his leadership at BSkyB.
News Corp. had a deal to buy the 60% of BSkyB it doesn't own but had to abandon it this summer in the wake of the hacking scandal, which threatened to derail the agreement.
Addressing “speculation” on James Murdoch’s integrity, Ferguson said that during his last eight years on the BSkyB board, “he has always acted with integrity in the eyes of both the Board and the senior management.”
“Any negative reputational effect on the company as a result of the News of the World issues” had also been considered, Ferguson said. “We have seen no effect on sales, customers of suppliers over the last five months,” nor had share prices suffered.
Murdoch made his second appearance before Parliament yesterday to refute allegations that he had misled the government body in July when he first spoke publicly about the ethics scandal that led to the closure of the 168-year-old tabloid.
The 38-year-old Murdoch, who until recently was seen as the likely successor to his father, maintained he was unaware until recently of how corrupt the culture at News of the World had become. Though two former executives at the paper have contested that, Murdoch on Wednesday accused them of “misleading” the panel with their testimony.
-- Janet Stobart