Rupert Murdoch and the rest of 21st Century Fox’s board of directors have been re-elected at the conglom’s first shareholders meeting since the former News Corp. split up its media and publishing assets in June.
The meeting was held Friday on the 20th Century Fox lot in Century City.
Tim Shaler, investment adviser with Christian Bros. Investment Services, proposed that the board make the chairman’s role an independent position, a move that would have ousted Murdoch from the title. Citing the upcoming London trial of former News Intl. employees faces charges in the News of the World phone hacking scandal, he said that an independent chairman would give shareholders “more comfort” that oversight of the executive team “was being exercised.” But the Board of Directors said that the current chairman structure ensured that they could “retain flexibility in establishing the most effective leadership structure.” Shaler was the only independent shareholder to speak at the meeting.
Institutional Shareholder Services had opposed the election of nine of the 12 directors, including Murdoch, his sons James and Lachlan, COO Chase Carey and five Murdoch allies, contending that the company should have put its poison pill plan to a shareholder vote.
The poison pill provision was unveiled in May before News Corp. split itself in two companies with News Corp. consisting of the newspapers and other media assets and 21st Century Fox consisting of the movie, TV and other entertainment assets. The pill would be triggered if a buyer acquires 15% of either company.