Rupert Murdoch Re-Elected Chairman of 21st Century Fox
Shareholders of 21st Century Fox elected all of the company's board candidates, including chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch and his two sons, Lachlan and James, at their annual meeting at Fox Studios in Los Angeles on Friday.
The meeting, which lasted a scant 30 minutes even with a delay for technical reasons, was sparsely attended and relatively uneventful.
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One shareholder, Tim Shaler of Christian Bros. Investment Services, made a plea to separate the CEO and chairmanship -- a request that had become an annual ritual at meetings long before 21st Century Fox split from News Corp -- but the proposal will undoubtedly be shot down once the votes are officially tallied. Last year, a similar proposal was defeated by about 70 percent to 30 percent.
Shaler, though, said the company's refusal to split the CEO and chairmanship, roles both held by Rupert Murdoch, show "a disregard not only for shareholders but also for corporate governance."
No other shareholder made a public statement or even posed a question to the board members, most of whom were in attendance, including the three Murdochs and COO Chase Carey.
Activist shareholders also promoted a proposal to do away with the dual class of stock that allows the Murdoch family to control about 39 percent of the voting power at the company with only 14 percent of the shares. That proposal also lacked support and will likely lose when the votes are counted.
In his prepared remarks, Rupert Murdoch called the company's cable network programming its "engine of growth" and noted that the segment surpassed $10 billion in revenue for the first time in fiscal 2013.
Murdoch also boasted that investors in pre-split News Corp. have enjoyed a 95 percent return on their money since the company announced in June 2012 it would split into two entities, which is three times more than the S&P 500 and 25 percent better than its media peers.
"These numbers speak for themselves," Murdoch said.