The £100bn (€115.6bn) Local Authority Pension Fund Forum is advising its 54 members to oppose the election of Rupert and James Murdoch as directors at News Corp.’s annual general meeting later this month in the latest show of defiance from institutional investors over the phone hacking scandal.
James Murdoch’s continued presence on the board, LAPFF said, was “causing significant reputational damage to the company and is no longer in shareholders’ interest”. The re-election of Rupert Murdoch is also being opposed as he is the combined chair and chief executive of News Corp.
The media giant will holds its AGM on October 21 at Fox Studios in Los Angeles in the wake of the scandal which has angered investors.
The company is facing opposition from an array of investor groups, including the Australian Council of Super Investors, proxy advisory firms such as PIRC and now the LAPFF.In an unusual move, the Christian Brothers Investment Services is aiming to present a motion from the floor at the meeting calling for a separate chairman and CEO.
“Having undertaken extensive research into the phone-hacking scandal, and having engaged with News Corp directly, LAPFF has reached the view that board change is necessary,” the forum said in a statement.
It says the board must take responsibility – “best achieved by a change to its existing membership and structure”. The group says lead director Rod Eddington, the former CEO of British Airways, “is well placed to take this process further”.
“Whilst these are difficult issues for the company to address, we believe that to secure News Corp’s long-term future such reform is necessary,” said LAPFF Chairman Ian Greenwood.