James Murdoch Re-Elected as BSkyB Chairman
LONDON - A third of the independent shareholders in BSkyB failed to support James Murdoch's re-election as chairman at the pay TV giant's AGM Tuesday.
Almost a quarter (23.9 percent) of non-News Corp.-controlled BSkyB shareholders voted against James Murdoch's re-election as non-executive chairman of BSkyB and a further 9.8 percent actively withheld their support Tuesday.
The size of the protest vote was more than 10 times the vote against James Murdoch's re-election tally at the same time last year. But the News Corp. deputy COO has nonetheless been has re-electedchairman - buoyed in part by News Corp.'s37 percent voting stake which supported him.
Preliminary figures announced James Murdoch received an 81.24 percent share of the votes cast - with 18.76 percent voting against.
Murdoch side-stepped a number of shareholder questions on his suitability to remain chairman at the meeting in Westminster in the wake of the ongoing phone-scandal, referring all questions about the board's continued support for him to Nicholas Ferguson, the satcaster's senior non-executive director.
Ferguson was asked by Chris Bryant MP whether Murdoch was a suitable chairman of BSkyB, given his stewardship of News International - which Bryant said had been found to be responsible for "massive systemic criminality," which had "corrupted the police" and which "managed a complex cover-up process."
Ferguson replied that the board would "continue to review" the developments from emerging from the multiple ongoing investigations into the events that unravelled at the News of the World.
But he gave the chairman a ringing endorsement.
"We have worked with James for eight years as a board and have found him highly competent and he has always acted with the highest integrity. As for honesty ... We believe he is telling the truth. If you don't, that is your opinion."