News Corp. Nominates Venture Capitalist to Board, Says Two Directors Will Leave
As governance issues have come into focus amid the phone hacking scandal, James Breyer will stand for election to the board, while Thomas Perkins, another venture capital veteran, will leave the board as will Kenneth Cowley who has a long work history at the conglomerate.
NEW YORK – Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. on Friday said that two of its board members, Thomas Perkins and Kenneth Cowley, will not stand for reelection at this year’s annual shareholder meeting, but it nominated venture capitalist James Breyer, known as a top tech investor, to join the board.
The changes come as critics have said amid the phone hacking scandal that the News Corp. board is too close to Murdoch and could use more independent voices. A spokeswoman said the company now has eight independent and seven non-independent board members.
Cowley has served on the News Corp. board since 1979 and is seen as a Murdoch loyalist, even though he is designated as an independent director. He first joined the conglomerate in 1964 as part of a team that launched The Australian newspaper. He is currently executive chairman of RM Williams Holdings.
Perkins, founding partner of prominent venture capital outfit Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, has been a board since 1996. He recently made headlines when he publicly expressed the board’s support for Murdoch and the senior management team at News Corp. amid the phone hacking scandal after reports that he had emerged as one of the internal critics due to the affair.
“We thank Ken and Tom for their years of service on the News Corporation board and sincerely appreciate the critical insights they provided,” said Murdoch. “We will miss them both and wish them continued success.”
About Breyer, a partner at venture firm Accel Partners, he said: “Jim has a remarkable track record in the investment community and his background in media and technology will enable him to make significant contributions to News Corp.’s board.”
Said Breyer: “I consider it a privilege to be nominated and I am excited about the prospect of joining News Corp.’s distinguished board at this exciting time in the company's history.”
The company’s directors will be voted on at the annual meeting of stockholders on Oct. 21 in Los Angeles.