Large Pension Fund Votes Against Re-Election of Rupert Murdoch and Sons to News Corp. Board

3:34 PM PST 10/15/2012 by Paul Bond
Peter Mathew/Fairfax Images/Getty Images
From left: Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch and Lachlan Murdoch

CalPERS votes in favor of several initiatives that would lessen the control the Murdoch family has over the media conglomerate.

One of the nation’s largest public pension funds voted against Rupert Murdoch’s bid for re-election as chairman of the News Corp. board and also voted against the re-election of Murdoch’s sons.

The California Public Employees Retirement System, known as CalPERS, said Monday -- one day ahead of News Corp's. planned shareholders meeting on the Fox studio lot in Los Angeles -- that  it is “withholding its vote from non-independent director nominees Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch and Lachlan Murdoch.”

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CalPERS also is backing a resolution that would split the role of chairman and CEO; Rupert Murdoch currently holds both titles.

"If the chairman is not the CEO, the board may be able to exercise stronger oversight of management," CalPERs said.

The pension fund also said it “has concerns that the company has not adequately linked pay with performance,” so it is backing another resolution that addresses the alleged inequity.

CalPERS also supports a proposal that would eliminate the company’s dual class of voting stock -- which, if passed, also could erode some of the control the Murdochs have over News Corp.

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A couple of Wall Street analysts on CNBC weighed in Monday on the notion that some shareholders could wrest a portion of control of News Corp. from the Murdoch family, and determined that the odds aren’t too good.

Matthew Harrigan of Wunderlich Securities, though, says the stock probably would rise if president and COO Chase Carey were promoted to CEO.

Watch video of the CNBC segment below.

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