By Michael Collins
May Day! How remarkable (even though Rupert Murdoch was denounced by a committee of the House of Commons, not the entire body). Murdoch is “not a fit person” to run “a major international company,” we were told in a report released by the Commons’ committee investigating phone hacking on May 1). He may not be unbalanced, as Murdoch recently characterized former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, but he’s certainly not fit. (Image)
Here’s some of what this means:
1) There’s no way Murdoch will survive the regulatory investigation on his ownership of media in Great Britain.. One of Ofcom’s charters (the regulatory body) is to determine if Murdoch is a “fit and proper” person to own BSkyB and other British media properties.
2) When it looks like Murdoch has to divest the 39% News Corp interest in the highly profitable BSkyB pay TV network, institutional shareholders will Kirk out! The Sky enterprise amounted to 20% plus of News Corp’s 2011 profits. Oops!
3) Murdoch won’t go gentle into the dark night. He will become increasingly irrational as seen in his sting operation against his once loyal servant David Cameron. It is fair to assume that he’s got more dirt on public officials than J. Edgar ever had … and he’ll start using it.
4) Murdoch will retain the continued loyalty of the News Corp board (see members listed below). After the release of the condemnation by the Commons committee, Murdoch’s board released a statement expressing “full confidence in Rupert Murdoch’s fitness and support for his continuing to lead News Corporation into the future as its Chairman and CEO.”
5) Murdoch may get the bums rush out of News Corp as a result of an institutional investor like the Christian Brothers Investment Services which has said it would ask the SEC to change the voting rights of shareholders (Murdoch has outsized representation in voting shares).
Here’s the statement from the culture committee causing such a stir:
229. On the basis of the facts and evidence before the Committee, we conclude that, if at all relevant times Rupert Murdoch did not take steps to become fully informed about phone-hacking, he turned a blind eye and exhibited wilful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publications. This culture, we consider, permeated from the top throughout the organisation and speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International. We conclude, therefore, that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company. News International and Phone Hacking by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, House of Commons
Rupert’s board jumped to the defense:
NEW YORK, NY, May 02, 2012 – The Board of Directors of News Corporation met today and announced its full confidence in Rupert Murdoch’s fitness and support for his continuing to lead News Corporation into the future as its Chairman and CEO. The Board based its vote of confidence on Rupert Murdoch’s vision and leadership in building News Corporation, his ongoing performance as Chairman and CEO, and his demonstrated resolve to address the mistakes of the Company identified in the Select Committee’s report. News Corporation press release
Doing business with Murdoch can be the Kiss of Death. Here are members of Murdoch’s board.
The board has seven News Corp employees (if you count Bancroft/DJNS heir -her only listed employment is as a News Corp director) and nine “independent” members.
But when you look at who is who on the board, you realize that son Lachlan Murdoch is not really independent. Former Spanish president and Bush favorite Jose Maria Aznar and Viet Dinh (the Patriot Act) are neocon blood brothers with Murdoch. There are three very long time Murdoch cronies on the board as well. Just add these to the seven company members and you get a strong majority of thirteen of sixteen members. They all voted for endorsement this week.
Murdoch probably bullied his board into his endorsement in response to the slap down from the House of Commons committee. That helped Murdoch. As for the others, they’re tarred with the brush of Rupert’s sleazy behavior and refusal to accept reality.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
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