James Murdoch to quit Sotheby's board‎

 

James Murdoch followed up his resignation as chairman of News International with the decision to quit the board of Sotheby’s, the international auctioneers where he has been a director since 2010.

The embattled executive bowed to calls from some corporate governance campaigners and said he will not stand for re-election to the Sotheby’s board at its annual meeting in May.

A union-backed investment group, CtW, which holds Sotheby’s shares, has been calling on Mr Murdoch to resign, saying his “incompetent” handling of the phone hacking scandal at NI put him at odds with the auctioneers’ commitment to strong standards of corporate governance.

Mr Murdoch stood down from NI at the end of last month, but he remains deputy chief operating officer of his family’s media conglomerate, News Corporation and continues to have responsibility for international businesses including Star TV, Sky Deutschland, Sky Italia and BSkyB.

He had had limited involvement in NI, which also publishes The Times and The Sunday Times, since he was promoted to a New York-based role in March last year. Tendering his resignation to the Sotheby’s board, he said he needed to focus on his “core responsibilities” at News Corp.

Sotheby’s, which is based in New York, had tapped Mr Murdoch as a member of its compensation committee, which sets executive pay at the company.

“During his tenure Sotheby’s has benefited greatly from his broad-based marketing and brand management experience, his guidance regarding the company’s strategic initiatives in Asia and his insight into digital media, among other things,” Sotheby’s said in a regulatory filing last night. “We will seek to find opportunities to continue to engage with Mr Murdoch in the areas of his expertise.”

Earlier this week, Mr Murdoch hat wrote to MPs in the UK saying he accepted his share of the blame for not uncovering phone hacking at the News of the World sooner. But he denied he had misled Parliament over the scandal.

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