James Murdoch Reappointed As BSkyB Director
James Murdoch has been reappointed as a director of BSkyB at the company's annual general meeting.
Provisional figures announced at the meeting in London gave him 81.24% of the vote with 18.76% against. There have been calls for him to resign his role as chairman amid fears that his links to the inquiry into phone hacking at News Corporation will damage BSkyB's reputation.
Protesters calling for Mr Murdoch's resignation had gathered outside the meeting, at the QEII conference centre. Labour MPs Chris Bryant and Tom Watson also arrived, promising awkward questions.
Pressure has been continuing to mount on the son of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch over his links to the phone hacking inquiry at News Corporation, amid claims it could damage the image of BSkyB.
At the meeting, deputy chairman Nicholas Ferguson took questions about Mr Murdoch's role, prefacing them with a strong defence of his chairmanship.
He said: "He runs an excellent Board. Discussions are open and frank, his chairing is very good. He has put in place strong governance procedures. He has a strong strategic view."
Asked if the select committee hearings about phone hacking at the News of the World cast doubt either on Mr Murdoch's honesty or competence, Mr Ferguson said: "We've worked with James for eight years, James is a highly competent man. As for honesty, we've seen nothing that makes us question his honesty."
Mr Murdoch, who currently serves as deputy chief operating officer at News Corp, BSkyB's controlling shareholder, had been expected to survive as he receives the backing of 39% shareholder News Corp and other investors such as Capital Research Global Investors.
Mr Bryant said afterwards: "It's a stark result for James Murdoch. I didn't anticipate the vote against him to be anywhere near as high. Only 1.7% of independent shareholders voted against him last year.
"He's got the rules, funds and family behind him - but I still think, as this row goes on, the writing's on the wall. I strongly suspect Sky will have dispensed with his services by this time next year."