In a bold move, News Corp. Wednesday named former conservative Spanish President Jose Maria Aznar to its board.
Aznar was president from 1996 to 2004, when he stood down in favor of another candidate in general elections that were held three days after terrorists bombed trains in Madrid.
Some 200 were killed and 2,000 wounded in the attack, which swung the elections against Aznar’s Partido Popular to the Socialist Party.
Spaniards felt the government had manipulated the public by incriminating local Basque separatist group ETA early on instead of Islamic terrorists, who appear to have been the culprits.
Spain had been an ally of the U.S. in the Iraq war.
“As president of Spain, Mr. Aznar earned worldwide respect for his strong economic record and unflinching stand against domestic and international terrorism. His impressive grasp of world politics and the realities of globalization, as well as his clear commitment to fiscal rectitude, will be of great benefit to News Corp.’s stockholders,” the conglom’s chairman-CEO Rupert Murdoch said in a statement.
Aznar has written books on government and Spain. He is a Distinguished Scholar at Georgetown U., where he teaches various seminars on contemporary European politics.
His appointment boosts News Corp.’s board of directors to 14.