James Murdoch, despite being called “toxic to shareholders”, stays on the BSkyB board

James Murdoch - despite being called “toxic to shareholders” - stays on the board for BSkyB, which prompts the question, how far have we really come?


Despite being described at BSkyB’s AGM as being “toxic to shareholders”, James Murdoch has retained his place on the board with only five per cent of shareholders opposing his continued tenure.

Yesterday, Left Foot Forward explained why it was in everyone’s best interests for Murdoch to go, not only because of his “wilful ignorance” when it came to the phone hacking scandal (in the words of a Parliamentary committee), but also because some of BSkyB’s major shareholders are pension funds and insurance companies.

Ofcom has also attacked his record whilst on the board for BSkyB during the phone hacking scandal, saying they considered his conduct – including his “failure to initiate action on his own account on a number of occasions” – to be “both difficult to comprehend and ill-judged”.

His reappointment has happened in unison with an attempt to improve the public image of BSkyB, with The Guardian reporting an influx of new directors into the board; supposedly BSkyB has smart bombed investor groups with charm, in order to reassure them of James Murdoch’s experience in the role.

The fact that Murdoch, who presided over a company at the epicentre of a truly shocking and disgraceful period in media history, has retained a place in a vastly powerful media organisation speaks volumes of the company’s failure to learn the lessons of the scandal.

As Left Foot Forward made clear earlier this week, the case for regulatory reform is as obvious now as before, and cannot be allowed to be blown off course.

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