Jul 18, 2011

Ranking the 16 News Corp directors for independence as regime change looms

For the first time in 58 years, the independent directors of News Corp appear to be stirring. Here’s a profile of all 16 News Corp directors ranked according to potential independence.

Stephen Mayne — Journalist and Founder

Stephen Mayne

Journalist and Founder

For the first time in 58 years, the independent directors of News Corp appear to be stirring.

There is a majority of Murdoch family members and former executives on the News Corp board and very few independent directors at all if you accept the argument that former executives can never be independent and non-executive directors lose their independence after 10 years of service.

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14 thoughts on “Ranking the 16 News Corp directors for independence as regime change looms

  1. Andrew McIntosh

    Looks like quite the sus parade. No hope of any of them acting out of anything like ethics, I suggest, except maybe Bandcroft who would do better to simply resign and go off to live a blameless life. So it looks like self-interest will out, “in the best interests of the company and the shareholders” if they need a cover.

    You’d have to seriously wonder at the ethics of anyone wanting to involve themselves with this organisation. And that includes shareholders and “long suffering independent investors”.

  2. Meski

    You missed an HP connection – Mark Hurd, ex HP CEO, Chairman, President.

  3. Charles Richardson

    Hi Stephen –
    Nice rundown. One small correction: Aznar is a former Spanish prime minister, not president (Spain is a monarchy).

  4. michael r james

    Even without reading this, and especially after reading it, one confidently knows that there is not a snowflake’s chance in hell of anything happening. It will only be a prospect if things in the UK continue to go badly (and I mean legally, no one in the US cares about UK public opinion) such that it threatened the US operation. This is the reason Les Hinton was sacrificed on Friday. He ran DowJones (WSJ) but his role in the UK during the hacking means he could be considered a felon in the US under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. (For the same reasons most observers expect James to go next.) As to the claims News Corp is doing the same dirty stuff in the US (9/11 survivors etc) it is already being disputed by senior Republicans (sensing that their campaign to make Obama a one-term president would be at risk if Fox changed owners?).

    As to Viet Dinh and Tom Perkins, they have flown to the UK to advise Murdoch on legal matters (it may be my ignorance but given the difference in law one wonders how this can work if not actually be counterproductive but Rupe always wants someone he is comfortable with even if it is the wrong person). This duo may have got rid of Carly Fiorina from HP but it doesn’t compare. She was a jumped-up marketing exec whose “great idea” was to spend a fortune on buying Compaq to create (for the moment) the world’s largest PC maker. A vicious price-sensitive commodity market for the world’s largest and best respected tech company? Stooopid. (But for her it represented an area in which marketing could matter…..).

    The main interesting play, perhaps way off-field, lies with Elizabeth. Forget Lachlan, he was not comfortable in News Corp and was humiliated by the likes of Ailes and Chernin, and he doesn’t want to go back to fight these guys–he is not in their league. He is his mother’s son not his father’s. On the other hand Elizabeth is a female Rupert in temperament and might have the motivation. It is hard to see the board really wanting to pass the throne to another Murdoch but if it comes to it Rupe himself can probably arrange it if he wants/needs (even if Wendi doesn’t). They could also accept it knowing that getting rid of her down the line a bit is not so difficult if required.

    But it is probably all moot. Rupe may be 80 but he really intends to live forever. “Rupert Murdoch is probably at his best when he is cornered or when he does have great adversity going against him,” former News Corp. executive Barry Diller said.

  5. bricon

    What a coincidence; the SMH published a VERY similar article to this on their website an hour or so after Stephen Mayne’s article was posted here.

  6. AR

    I wonder how many will decide that it is time to resign to spend more time with their wallets, if not families?
    They’ve shown few ethical concerns, as MickRJ above notes, so one can only expect them to look to their (perceived) self interest.

  7. Glenn Brandham

    How quickly we forget that News LTD had a hand in the de-throning and humiliation of the Melbourne Storm. Everything Rupert touches eventually turns to crap. It’s like the Midas touch, only in reverse. I also remember when we had 3 independent newspapers to choose from in Queensland…so long ago. This is why we have Crikey.

  8. Frank Birchall

    A question for Michael James: I can’t understand how Les Hinton (or anyone else) can escape arrest and indictment for a breach of Foreign Corrupt Practices laws merely by resigning from a US based company. If the breach occurred while he was an employee, surely he could not escape liability merely by resigning ex post facto? Maybe Michael is simply making the point that the threat of such indictment was sufficient reason for News to break their links with Hinton; that is, throw him overboard.

  9. william magnusson

    only a token female ?? puts truth to the myth that females are only eye candy in the media

  10. Cynic

    When I worked for a Murdoch controlled business, they were always very good at ferreting out anyone who was critical in any way of the “clan” or stood up to the sycophants who called themselves “leaders” – some of them listed above. Pity they aren’t as good at ferreting out people within the organisation who break the law and have no morals or ethics. I guess it’s hard to admit the truth when your whole life has been a series of lies, back-stabbing and arse kissing. Don’t you sort of feel sorry for these board members? Despite all the money they have been paid, they now know that every person see and talk to every day, including their spouses, children and relatives, knows that they are low-life scum, who would sell out their grandmothers if it pleased Rupert.

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