Under-fire James Murdoch re-appointed as BSkyB director

29th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

Rupert Murdoch's son James was reappointed as a director of British pay-TV giant BSkyB at the company's annual general meeting on Tuesday, despite calls from some shareholders for him to resign.

Provisional figures announced at the meeting in London gave him 81.24 percent of the vote with 18.76 percent against.

There have been calls for 38-year-old James to stand down from his role as BSkyB chairman because a newspaper owned by his father's firm was closed in July amid public revulsion at phone hacking.

Some shareholders have said they fear his presence on the BSkyB board could damage the company's image.

Protesters calling for Murdoch's resignation had gathered outside the meeting at a London conference centre.

But at the meeting, deputy chairman Nicholas Ferguson gave a strong defence of Murdoch's chairmanship, saying he ran an "excellent board".

"Discussions are open and frank, his chairing is very good. He has put in place strong governance procedures. He has a strong strategic view," Ferguson said.

News Corp had to withdraw its $12 billion (9.0 billion euros) offer for the part of BSkyB it does not already own in July after it emerged that the News of the World tabloid had hacked into the phone of a girl later found murdered.

During the phone hacking scandal, James Murdoch gave evidence to a parliamentary committee that was later criticised by politicians for being misleading.

Asked on Tuesday if the parliamentary hearings about phone hacking cast doubt on Murdoch's honesty or competence, Ferguson said: "We've worked with James for eight years, James is a highly competent man.

"As for honesty, we've seen nothing that makes us question his honesty."

© 2011 AFP

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