News Corp. nominates Bancroft

Opera singer hand-picked to join board

Natalie Bancroft has the famous last name, but she doesn’t exactly possess major clout. So it was something of a surprise last week when the 27-year-old opera singer was nominated to join the board of directors News Corp.

By her own admission Bancroft, who has been living in Europe, is more attuned to arias than assets. But News Corp. nominated the mezzo soprano because the Bancroft family — which has long controlled Dow Jones but is about to hand it over to News — blew the deadline to pick its own nominee.

So News Corp. topper Rupert Murdoch came up with Natalie Bancroft, who will be the only female member of the board.

On a conference call with reporters and analysts, Murdoch dismissed the notion that he had deliberately thrown out a neophyte name as a retaliation to the Bancrofts’ well-documented dithering before, during and after the sale. (The news of her appointment, in a final twist, was first reported in the Wall Street Journal, crown jewel of Dow Jones.)

“She’ll be a good director,” insisted Murdoch. “They’re a funny family. They need to decide themselves who to nominate.”

Other Bancrofts as well as experts in corporate governance have criticized the selection harshly .

“That’s rubbish,” Murdoch said. “Corporate governance experts. Just remember what they said when Google floated. They said it was the worst corporate governance structure they had ever seen.”

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