James Murdoch has survived as chairman of BSkyB although his mandate for leading the group was dealt a blow as 44 per cent of the company’s independent shareholders abstained or voted against his re-election at yesterday’s AGM.
Murdoch’s win is unsurprising as News Corporation, headed by his father Rupert, owns 39 per cent of the satellite giant’s shares, but the large protest vote will be seen as an embarrassing set-back.
Guy Jubb, head of governance and stewardship at Standard Life Investments, which owns 2.9 per cent of BSkyB and opposed Murdoch’s re-election, called for the independent directors at BSkyB to “reflect carefully on not only the level of dissent amongst independent shareholders but also the tone of the comments that accompany their votes”.
The opposition to Murdoch’s re-election comes as a result of his role at News International, the group at the centre of the phone-hacking scandal.
Nick Ferguson, BSkyB’s deputy chairman, recognised the views of the shareholders but said: “The entire BSkyB board is now determined to move forward to maintain BSkyB’s strong performance and create value for all shareholders.”