A campaign to oust founder Rupert Murdoch and his sons from the board of News Corporation is gathering strength, the London *Guardian* reported Monday. -- Among those backing the campaign are the Institutional Shareholder Services, Glass Lewis, the U.K.'s PIRC, the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum, and the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors. -- On Tuesday, Occupy Wall Street protesters stopped by Rupert Murdoch's home on a "Millionaires March" to the Upper East Side, Reuters reported. ...
CAMPAIGN GROWS TO OUST MURDOCH
By Juliette Garside
October 10, 2011
The shareholder-led campaign for an overhaul of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation is gathering momentum, with a call from the advisers Institutional Shareholder Services for 13 of the company's 15 directors to be voted off the board.
ISS, whose 1,700 clients include pension funds, trade union funds, and asset managers in the United States and around the world, issued a condemnation of the media conglomerate's executive and independent directors on Monday.
It said the phone hacking scandal had "laid bare a striking lack of stewardship and failure of independence by a board whose inability to set a strong tone-at-the-top about unethical business practices has now resulted in enormous costs -- financial, legal, regulatory, reputational, and opportunity -- for the shareholders the board ostensibly serves."
ISS wants the firm's founder, Rupert Murdoch, and his sons James and Lachlan voted off the board at the shareholder meeting on 21 October.
An executive summary of the ISS advice to shareholders says the problems stretch back to at least 2004, when News Corporation moved its corporate base from Australia to Delaware. It is also advising a vote against the executive compensation plan, complaining that Rupert Murdoch, the chief executive and chairman, received a cash bonus of $12.5m in 2011, up from $4.4m the year before, despite the revelations of the extent of illegal practices at the News of the World this year.
The only directors ISS recommends voting in favor of are Joel Klein and James Breyer, as they have served on the board for just a few months. Klein runs the company's education division, while Breyer is a partner in the venture capital firm Accel and serves on the boards of Walmart and Dell.
ISS said: "Shareholders elect independent directors to protect against governance risk of self-inflicted damage to corporate reputation, viability, and long-term shareholder value. The independent directors, rather than embracing their central governance role, opted not to guard the guardians."
The advice follows several calls from proxy advisory firms for a radical News Corp overhaul. Glass Lewis, which advises institutions with more than $15tn in assets, said shareholders should vote against James and Lachlan Murdoch and four other directors.
The U.K.'s PIRC, the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum, which represents £100bn of pension funds, and the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors have also urged voters to oust directors.
News Corp said it "strongly disagrees" with the ISS advice. "The company takes the issues surrounding News of the World seriously and is working hard to resolve them, however ISS's disproportionate focus on these issues is misguided and a disservice to our stockholders."
OCCUPY WALL STREET SWARMS RUPERT MURDOCH'S HOME ON MARCH
By Lucas Shaw
October 11, 2011
NEW YORK -- Rupert Murdoch, you've been occupied.
The Occupy Wall Street movement stretched its legs Tuesday, moving up to New York's ritzy Upper East Side to visit the homes of some of the city's wealthiest people.
Participants of the so-called "Millionaires March" congregated at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue just after noon, and held a press conference before beginning the march.
They stopped by the Fifth Avenue home of News Corp. Chairman and CEO Murdoch with trips also planned to the residences of other heavyweights like JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and businessman and Republican booster David Koch.
So far, the protesters seem to have remained on the sidewalks, which has prevented arrests. That differs from Occupy Wall Street's march on the Brooklyn Bridge, which resulted in hundreds of arrests.
While the visits to these homes echo the spirit of the entire movement, there is actually a specific goal to this event. The state's millionaire's tax is set to expire at the end of the year, and the protesters want it extended.
On Monday, rap mogul Russell Simmons, who brought Kanye West with him, said he would happily pay more taxes if the money went to education. Simmons appeared on Reverend Al Sharpton's radio show, which the MSNBC host was broadcasting from the park.
While the New York protests have been relatively tranquil the past few days, Boston became the focus for a new series of arrests early Tuesday morning when the police detained more than 100 people.