As the News Corp. annual meeting approaches, shareholders are being advised to vote against the reelection of a number of current board members who appear to have been asleep at the wheel. On Friday, Glass Lewis, one of the top independent proxy advisory services in the United States, recommended that investors use their votes to keep six of the company's directors from serving further terms. In light of the phone hacking scandal that has plagued the company with intense legal and media scrutiny for three months, shareholders are being urged to push for proper oversight from the company’s board going forward.
The biggest names that Glass Lewis is advising against reelecting are Rupert Murdoch's two sons, James and Lachlan. The other four directors Glass Lewis is recommending that investors vote against are Natalie Bancroft, David DeVoe, Andrew Knight, and Arthur Suskind. In its report, the company advises News Corp. investors to “carefully consider the nature of the relationship each director has with the Company and its controlling shareholder, the Murdoch family, in order to establish a board with proper independence levels and strong oversight.”
Despite this message from Glass Lewis, and similar messages that have come out from other companies like Glass Lewis in other countries recently, it's unlikely shareholders' votes will matter much at the annual meeting, which happens October 21. Though News Corp. is a public company, a dual stock structure gives the Murdoch family 40 percent of the voting power.