US - Rupert Murdoch and other News Corporation directors face opposition from corporate governance advisory firm ISS which advised shareholders to vote against their re-elections to the board.
ISS suggested that shareholders oppose the re-election of 13 out of the 15 media company directors, including deputy chief operating officer James Murdoch and former deputy chief operating officer, Lachlan Murdoch.
An ISS spokesperson said the company's phone hacking scandal, "laid bare a striking lack of stewardship and failure of independence by a board whose inability to set a strong tone-at-the-top about unethical business practices has now resulted in enormous costs-financial, legal, regulatory, reputational, and opportunity-for the shareholders the board ostensibly serves."
Votes for nominees Joel Klein and James Breyer were recommended, as both are new to the board, with only a few months experience. The annual News Corporation stockholder meeting will be held on 21 October in Los Angeles.
The advisory group said the phone hacking scandal was part of a "mosaic of failures of board independence, oversight and responsiveness to shareholder concerns stretching back at least to 2004, when the company reincorporated from Australia to Delaware."
Despite the harm inflicted to News Corporation by the phone hacking scandal, chief executive officer Rupert Murdoch received a cash bonus of $12.5m this year, which is $8.1m more than Murdoch received last year as a bonus, ISS said.
ISS are not alone in their opposition to the company, the Local Authority Pension Funds Forum (LAPFF) also called for the company to overhaul its board structure earlier this month, in the wake of the phone hacking scandal. (Global Pensions, 06 October 2011)
The Local Authority Pension Fund Forum - the UK's leading shareholder activist body with 54 members with combined assets of £100bn - issued a voting alert to its members last week on News Corp urging them to oppose the re-election of James and Rupert Murdoch.
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