InvestSMART

Advice 'fails to recognise value' of directors

NEWS CORP has hit back at a series of shareholder advisory firms who want some or most of its directors dumped at this month's annual general meeting, including Rupert Murdoch and his sons, James and Lachlan.

NEWS CORP has hit back at a series of shareholder advisory firms who want some or most of its directors dumped at this month's annual general meeting, including Rupert Murdoch and his sons, James and Lachlan.

In an additional proxy statement, it said it "vehemently" disagreed with recommendations to oppose the re-election of many of its 15 directors - 13 in the case of Institutional Shareholder Services - given a history of corporate governance lapses and the News of the World scandal.

"The proxy advisory firms' disregard of the exceptional performance by News Corp demonstrates a failure to recognise the value created for stockholders by News Corp's board of directors, members of management and employees around the world," it said.

After his remuneration and position as both chairman and chief executive was criticised by several parties, News Corp said Mr Murdoch's pay was "aligned with performance" and that he was "critical to the value we create for our stockholders".

Last month, the Australia Council of Superannuation Investors said related and long-standing directors should be removed and has since been joined by at least five other groups with similar sentiments, but News Corp said the entire board was "outstanding".

"Our slate of director nominees consists of sophisticated, world-class directors who serve to enhance our board," it said. Both directors and management were "acting decisively" over the News of the World scandal, it said, and was "fully co-operating" with investigations, while it hoped new compliance, ethics and governance standards in Britain would become "a standard for the industry".

News Corp holds its annual general meeting in Los Angeles on October 21, and while the amount of criticism from shareholder advisors is intense, the Murdoch family controls about 40 per cent of shares with voting rights, with another 7 per cent held by close ally, the billionaire and nephew of the Saudi King Abdullah, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

But while ACSI understood its wish was unlikely given that control, chief executive Ann Byrne said last month a "clear message" need to be sent to the company to lift its game on board independence and oversight.


Join the Conversation...

There are comments posted so far.

If you'd like to join this conversation, please login or sign up here

Related Articles