Sky investors urged to drop Murdoch

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Shareholders in Sky have been urged to vote against the re-election of Rupert Murdoch as the company's chairman after the influential corporate governance body Pirc raised concerns about the company's independence.

Pirc – or Pensions Investment Research Consultants – said that it does not support the election of a chairman connected to the company's controlling shareholder, and thus called on Sky shareholders to block Mr Murdoch's appointment given his position as chairman and chief executive of News Corp, which owns a near-40 per cent stake in Sky. It also noted that his son James Murdoch is chief executive of Sky.

The corporate governance body also raised concerns about the company's remuneration report. It said that despite Sky's improved disclosure around executive pay, it still hasn't detailed the maximum awards under the company's long-term incentive plan or its performance-related targets. Pirc said that last year, James Murdoch received a combined award amounting to more than 500 per cent of his base salary – nearly £4m – "which we deem excessive." Shareholders last year overwhelmingly approved the re-election of its chairman and its remuneration policy despite similiar Pirc concerns.

Separately, Sky has also been taken to task by the advertising watchdog the ASA for advertisements about its rival Virgin Media. The ASA ruled the ads misleading implied that prices charged for new and upgrading customers were the same.