PIRC, the UK proxy adviser, has called on James Murdoch to stand down as chairman of British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) and renewed its criticism of the company’s governance standards.
The broadcaster would benefit from an independent chair not affiliated with BSkyB’s main shareholder, News Corp, says PIRC.
‘We have had concerns about weak governance, related-party transactions and improper controls at BSkyB since it first listed,’ says Alan MacDougall, managing director of PIRC, in a statement.
‘We recommended shareholders oppose James Murdoch’s election as chair in 2008 and his reelection last year, and would do so again because we consider his relationship to the controlling shareholder clearly compromises his independence.
‘In light of current events, it is time for the board to review whether BSkyB and its shareholders would benefit from a new, independent chair.’
Investor pressure on the Murdoch media empire has grown over recent weeks as the fall out from the phone hacking scandal at UK newspaper the News of the World spreads.
Institutional investors in the US have amended a complaint against News Corp filed in March to include the current scandal.
Earlier this week, the Church of England’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group called on News Corp to ‘instill investor confidence in the ethical and governance standards‘.
[Article by Tim Human, IR magazine]
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