October 21, 2011 – Los Angeles, CA – Following its Annual Meeting of Stockholders today, News Corporation announced that all Directors were elected, the advisory vote was in favor of executive compensation, and the other management proposals were approved. The floor proposal regarding an independent Chair of the Board was not approved. Voting results are being finalized and will be filed with the SEC early next week.
News Corp Scandal: Rupert Murdoch Gets A Huge Raise, Son James Rejects His Bonus And Jim Breyer Will Join The Board
Overseeing News Corp’s phone hacking and bribery scandal pays pretty well it seems. Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch will be getting a $12.5M bonus, which with his salary takes him to $33M for the 2011 fiscal year, a 47% raise. Son James would have been getting $17.9M, but for some reason, he turned down his $6M bonus. All the brass is doing pretty well: CFO David DeVoe more than doubled his haul from $7.1M in 2010 to $18.2M. COO Chase Carey took home $30.2M, including a $10M bonus and $15.2M in stock. Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes is getting $15.6M. The numbers came out in an SEC filing. No word as of yet that the 80-year-old mogul wil turn down his bonus.
The Hollywood part of News Corp’s empire would love to see new board nominee Jim Breyer’s digital savvy and relationships deliver the kind of boost Steve Jobs gave Disney when he was on that board. The Accel partner is the new No. 1 on Forbes‘ Midas List and has the tech cred. He bet big on Facebook before it left News Corp’s MySpace in the dust and his company is the social network’s biggest outside investor. He’s on the WalMart and Dell boards and knows showbiz. He’s on the Legenary Pictures board and was a director at Marvel before Disney bought it. But the political and crime thriller that will play out in ”this exciting time in the company’s history” as he called it in a short statement, will be uncharted …
With independent board members privately rebelling and institutional investors publicly complaining about inadequate corporate governance in the wake of the UK phone-hacking scandal, News Corp’s board of directors is scheduled to meet Tuesday in Los Angeles ahead of the company’s fiscal year-end earnings release the next day. Now the media giant’s Wall Street Journal is reporting that Elisabeth Murdoch and the media giant have shelved plans for her to join the board for now. The 42-year-old daughter of News Corp Chairman/CEO Rupert Murdoch was expected to join the board as part of her return to the company through News Corp’s acquisition of the Shine Group, the television-production company she runs. Rupert had even said in a news release in February that he expected her to join the board when the £415 million ($680 million) Shine acquisition was completed in April. News Corp independent director Viet Dinh said in a statement Friday that Elisabeth ”felt it would be inappropriate” to join the company board at its annual meeting later this year and the company’s independent directors agreed.
No doubt this will be the first of many News Corp shareholders filing claims in Delaware Chancery Court because the Big Media giant is incorporated in that state. The accusations focus on colossal corporate governance failures surrounding the ongoing British phone-hacking scandal that led to the closing this past week of the company’s News of the World tabloid and saw one of its former editors arrested and many execs accused including heir apparant James Murdoch. Shareholders led by Amalgamated Bank along with several municipal and union pension funds charge that News Corp’s board of directors failed to exercise proper oversight and take sufficient action since news of the hackings first surfaced more than five years ago. The new claims are part of an amended complaint filed by the shareholders, who in May 2011 challenged News Corp’s acquisition earlier this year of UK film and TV production company Shine Group Ltd — the deal created a $250 million windfall for Elisabeth Murdoch, daughter of News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch, who has been trying to gain a seat on News Corp’s board for his daughter.
“News Corp.’s behavior has become an egregious collection of nepotism and corporate governance failures, with a board completely unwilling to provide even the slightest level of adult supervision,” said Jay Eisenhofer, co-managing director of Grant & Eisenhofer and co-lead counsel to shareholders, along with Bernstein Litowitz. “The result has been a piling on of questionable deals, a waste of corporate resources, a starring role in a blockbuster scandal, and …