Wednesday 19 November 2014 12:46 pm

James Murdoch steps down as Sky Deutschland chairman after pension fund questions "conflicts of interests and suitability"

James Murdoch has stepped down from his role as chairman of Sky Deutschland following today's AGM. 
Murdoch will remain on the supervisory board, with Sky's chief executive Jeremy Darroch taking on the chairmanship role. Andrew Griffith has also joined the board as a member. 
The move comes two days after the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) published a letter recommending that shareholders vote against the re-election of Murdoch to the BSkyB board at the company's AGM. 
Chair councillor Kieran Quinn said the forum had “consistently raised concerns” over Murdoch's role on the board since 2011, “concerning conflicts of interest and director candidature suitability”. 
“As well as his conflicted role as a board member, Mr Murdoch’s ability to respond appropriately to a governance crisis at BSkyB is in doubt given the scandalous events at News Group Newspapers (NGN) and the subsequent views of Ofcom,” Quinn added. 
“Over the longer term, the forum would like to ensure there is a genuine ‘arm’s length’ relationship between BSkyB and Twenty First Century Fox… through a further strengthening of the independent representation on the board.”
The letter notes that James' father Rupert Murdoch retains a controlling stake in the media giant – 39.14 per cent – and that “one third of the board has ties to Twenty-First Century Fox”. 
The LAPFF has also previously raised questions in relation to “whether or not James Murdoch managed the phone hacking issues competently”.
It notes: “A number of former employees have been convicted of criminal activity, and it remains possible that corporate charges may still yet occur. Ofcom, the regulator for the UK’s broadcasting industry reported in 2012 that “a company director is required to exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence in the exercise of his functions. He may delegate, but has a duty to supervise appropriately.’”
Correction November 19, 7pm: An earlier version of this article misstated James Murdoch as stepping down from a role as BSkyB chairman. It has since been amended.