Murdoch defends son’s appointment as BSkyB CEO


SYDNEY: Media mogul Rupert Murdoch yesterday staunchly defended the appointment of his son James as chief executive of BSkyB, denying the move raised serious corporate governance issues for his News Corp Ltd empire. 

Investors in the British pay-TV firm have vociferously protested the appointment of 30-year-old James Murdoch to the top job, and argued the independence of BSkyB – which is 35% owned by News Corp – could be compromised. 

Asked on a conference call after News Corp's first-quarter results whether the protests from heavyweight investors had cast a pall over James's reign at BSkyB, Murdoch fired back. “Absolutely not, I think you're talking nonsense...Just ask the people there. It's happy ship, it's going well and they're looking forward to the new leadership.” 

Murdoch slammed as “outrageous libels” reports in Britain's Guardian newspaper that he said had suggested News Corp might siphon off revenues from BSkyB. 

Challenging reporters to find fault with News Corp's corporate governance, Murdoch pointed to a change of stance by Britain's National Association of Pension Funds, which, while still angry it was not fully consulted over James's appointment, is recommending its members back the election of the media scion. 

“Our corporate governance is a model for everybody...it's a hungry press out there,” he said. 

Despite raising investor wrath, the appointment was widely seen as a forgone conclusion after Murdoch publicly touted his second son as the best man for the top job at BSkyB after he steered pan-Asian broadcaster STAR to profitability. – Reuters  

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