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Media chief facing fresh investor revolt and calls for his sons James and Lachlan to step down from board of 21st Century Fox.

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A spokesman for 21st Century Fox said ISS’s analysis was “completely out of touch with reality” Photo: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

By , US Business Editor

12:01AM BST 09 Oct 2013

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Rupert Murdoch might have hoped that dividing his media empire in two would silence shareholders who sought to oust him as chairman. However, the embattled media chief is facing a fresh investor revolt as well as calls for his sons, James and Lachlan Murdoch to step down from board of 21st Century Fox.

America’s Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), the influential advisory group, has called for Mr Murdoch to stand down as chairman of his film and television business, 21st Century Fox, which will have its first annual shareholder meeting in Los Angeles next week.

ISS has also advised its members to vote against every single member of the 21st Century Fox board who previously served as a director of the larger News Corp empire, including James and Lachlan Murdoch, the company’s chief operating officer Chase Carey, and Mr Murdoch’s longstanding acolyte Viet Dinh.

These directors should go because they approved a so-called “poison pill” clause, designed to ward off potential hostile takeovers, ISS said. “Poison pills shift the balance of power between board and shareholders”, which it claimed was a particular concern at a media business with a “problematic governance structure and history of poor governance.”

A spokesman for 21st Century Fox said ISS’s analysis was “completely out of touch with reality”. “These are the very directors that have shepherded remarkable progress both in terms of bolstering shareholder value and strengthening our corporate governance and compliance policies, and we strongly support their election,” he said.

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