A shareholder advisory firm that came down hard on News Corp. this time last year in the wake of the U.K. phone-hacking scandal has softened its stance on the conglom’s board.
Institutional Shareholders Services, which urged stockholders to vote against re-electing all but two directors at News Corp.’s 2011 annual meeting, backed the entire board slate this year, although with a rather tepid endorsement.
“While it does not appear that the board or any specific members of the board have taken significant actions directly in conflict with shareholders’ interests during the past year, concerns remain over the independence of the board and the oversight it is supposed to provide. As such, ISS recommends a qualified vote for all director nominees,” ISS wrote in a report Thursday. The proxy firm did urge backing of a shareholder proposal to require an independent board chairman, another to eliminate the company’s dual shares structure, and a vote against ratifying the compensation of top executive officers.
“We are pleased that ISS supports the election of our full slate of director nominees and that its analysis affirms New Corporation’s strong performance this past year,” News Corp. said in a statement.
The company’s annual meeting is Oct. 16 in Los Angeles.