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'Vote Murdoch Out Of BSkyB', Says Former Treasury Minister

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JAMES MURDOCH
AP

BSkyB shareholders should remove James Murdoch as chairman of their board said Paul Myners, the former Labour treasury minister and current peer.

Myner told the Lords on Friday that Sky's next AGM should be used to show that the Murdoch dynasty was no longer a proper model on which to run one of the world's largest media companies.

He said: "All directors of BSkyB, in accordance with best advice from the Financial Reporting Council, should stand for re-election at the annual general meeting this summer, including Mr James Murdoch."

Myner, a former chairman of Marks and Spencer and the Guardian Media Group, said that Murdoch's business judgement had been shown to be lacking, both in the way he has handled the phone hacking crisis and the wider direction of News Corp.

Murdoch has been non-executive chairman of Sky since he left his post as chief exective of the company to run News Corp's operations in Europe.

"There are sufficient doubts about his business judgment, his investments in MySpace and AP Dow Jones, the large loss consequent on the investment in ITV, and the settlements that he now admits he entered into without fully understanding the facts, are surely all reasons why it is no longer appropriate for Mr James Murdoch to chair BSkyB," Myner said.

"One of the things that we learnt from the banking crisis was that the failure of boards was at the heart of what went wrong in those companies... There is an opportunity here for the great investment institutions of Edinburgh, London and New York to show that they have had enough with the way that the Murdochs dominate BSkyB"

The next Sky AGM will be held before the end of the year, and could prove to be a decisive moment for Murdoch if shareholders take Myners advice. Since News Corp owns 39 per cent of Sky's shares analysts say Murdoch would have to lose the support of virtually all of the other major shareholders to be voted out.