Ofcom attack on James Murdoch throws his future into doubt

By Katherine Rushton, Media, telecoms and technology editor7

James Murdoch is under renewed pressure to resign from the News Corporation and BSkyB boards, after Ofcom savaged his “character and conduct”.

he broadcasting regulator on Thursday declared that BSkyB, the satellite television business, was “fit and proper” to hold a broadcasting licence, but it was unsparing in its assessment of Mr Murdoch, its former chairman.

His failure to deal with the phone-hacking and police bribery scandals at News International, where he was also chair, was “difficult to comprehend and ill-judged”, Ofcom said. It added that Mr Murdoch “repeatedly fell short” of his duties as chairman, raising questions about his “competence” and attitude towards wrongdoing at the company.

The searing criticism stands to stymie Mr Murdoch’s progress up the ranks of News Corp, and threatens his existing positions as a non-executive director at BSkyB and as deputy chief operating officer at News Corp. It could also bar him from taking the helm of any public company in which his family does not have a controlling stake, according to corporate governance experts.

Professor Charles Elson, one of America’s most respected authorities on the subject, told The Daily Telegraph that “a board would have a very tough time ignoring these concerns. Never say never, but I don’t think that sort of finding will make it easy for him to progress”.

Lucy Marcus, professor of governance at IE Business School, added that Mr Murdoch’s “contagion” would taint any organisation that appoints him as a director. “It makes him persona non grata to sit on any other board right now.”

Lucy Marcus, professor of governance at IE Business School, added that Mr Murdoch’s “contagion” would taint any organisation that appoints him as a director. “It makes him persona non grata to sit on any other board right now.”

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Date

20 September 2012

Organisation

Telegraph

Ofcom attack on James Murdoch throws his future into doubt

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