Pirc raises concerns over Sky

BSKYB investors were yesterday urged to oppose the re-election of five of its board members and to vote against the firm&rsquo;s remuneration report at its annual meeting next week.<br /><br />Investor body Pirc issued an alert expressing its concerns over a lack of independent representation on BSKB&rsquo;s board, because a number of non-executive directors have links with the broadcaster&rsquo;s controlling shareholder, News Corp.<br /><br />The independent directors in question are Tom Mockeridge, who is the chief executive of Sky Italia and News Corp&rsquo;s European television operation, Sky chief financial officer David DeVoe and Sky director board member Arthur Siskind. <br /><br />The investor advisory body added that Selfridges deputy-chairman is &ldquo;not considered independent&rdquo; as he has been on the board for more than nine years. <br /><br />And it called for shareholders to abstain from re-electing Tesco board director Andrew Higginson, citing concern over his &ldquo;time-commitments&rdquo; after he missed two board meetings and two audit committee meetings over the past year.<br /><br />Pirc recommended shareholders vote against BSkyB&rsquo;s remuneration report on the basis that it doesn&rsquo;t give an explanation of salary increases.<br /><br />&ldquo;Disclosure concerning base salaries is limited to noting the increase during 2009 and fails to expand fully on the changes from the last full fiscal period. So whilst base salary increases during the 2009 period have been limited to 5 per cent, we note that the actual full year base salary earnings have increased significantly from 2008,&rdquo; it said, noting that BSkyB chief executive Jeremy Darroch had received a 22 per cent increase in basic salary.