Monday, 21 October 2013

Shareholders want a new (non-Murdoch) chair at 21st Century Fox

Friday was the AGM of 21st Century Fox, and once again there was clear support from non-Murdoch family shareholders for the introduction of an independent chair at the company.

FWIW, I am pretty sure this will happen in the next few years. When Rupert Murdoch stands down, or (lets be honest - he's an old man) dies, I can't see the board wanting to appoint Lachlan (James is dead in the water, in my opinion) as either chief exec (Chase Carey will get this I reckon) or chair.

Of course the hacking trials may hasten things if new information comes out.

NEW YORK — October 21, 2013 — Approximately two-thirds of independent Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. shareholders voted in favor of a resolution calling for the appointment of an independent Chair of the Board at the company’s annual shareholder meeting today in Los Angeles, casting doubt on whether shareholders see their interests as aligned with those of the Murdoch family. The resolution received 29% of the independent shareholders and 64% of all shareholders.

The shareholder proposal to strip Mr. Murdoch of his chairmanship was jointly introduced by Christian Brothers Investment Services (CBIS) and Canada-based British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (bcIMC), with support from the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) in the U.K.

“The level of family control – Mr. Murdoch owns 40% of voting shares – and the dual class share structure was engineered to keep power in the hands of Mr. Murdoch,” said Julie Tanner, Assistant Director of Socially Responsible Investing at CBIS.  “While it is virtually impossible for a shareholder resolution to “pass,” at Twenty-First Century Fox, this strong result compels the board to take action. Until then, shareholders will continue to voice their disapproval through the few channels available to them.”

“Unfortunately, some of the corporate governance problems at News Corp are just being repeated at Twenty-First Century Fox,” said Doug Pearce, Chief Investment Officer and Chief Executive Officer of bcIMC. “The new company deserves a fresh start, with proper oversight and adequate controls on power.”

“Once again, shareholders have made their feelings clear,” said Kieran Quinn, Chair of LAPFF. “This is the second year running that a majority of minority shareholders have backed the need for an independent chair. We encourage the board to respond constructively to a clear message from the company’s shareholders.”

No comments: