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Rupert still took home a compensation package valued at $31.1 million, with Lachlan Murdoch seeing a package valued at $27.7 million. Those are down from $34 million and $29.1 million the year prior, and significantly lower than fiscal 2019, when each man took home more than $42 million as they sold Fox’s entertainment assets to The Walt Disney Co.
The Murdochs, along with other top Fox executives, agreed to cut their base salaries during the pandemic. The company says the action “reduced their aggregate total target compensation by 9%.”
Meanwhile Fox Corp. COO John Nallen saw his pay fall to $12.4 million, while chief legal and policy officer Viet Dinh saw his compensation package rise slightly, also to $12.4 million. Fox’s fiscal year is July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021.
The annual proxy filing also included an unusual stockholder proposal, asking shareholders to vote on turning Fox Corp. into a “Public Benefit Corporation.”
“As a conventional corporation, the duties of Company directors emphasize shareholders, not stakeholders,” the stockholder proposal (which is all but certain to fail given the significant holdings of the Murdoch family). “In contrast, as a PBC, its directors would balance the interests of shareholders, stakeholders, and those public benefits identified in the Company’s certificate of incorporation.”
“Misinformation can put democracy at risk, threaten public interest in the environment, and undermine public health,” the proposal adds. “These threats could be prioritized at a PBC, even if doing so sacrificed financial return.”
In its response urging a “no” vote, the Fox board wrote that “we undertake our role as a source of news, information, analysis and entertainment as both a responsibility and a privilege.”
“We are purveyors of First Amendment activities and defenders of the U.S. Constitution and its rule of law,” they add. “We contribute to the marketplace of ideas by providing our audiences with the timely news, clear opinion and engaging entertainment they care about – from politics to sports, business to health, natural disasters to uplifting stories of courage, hope and humanity. Through it all we remain steadfast and focused on our core values of trust, integrity and ethical behavior.”
“A conversion to a PBC would not result in any meaningful change or better serve the interests of our stockholders or other stakeholders,” the board concludes.
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