James Murdoch faces investor opposition to his reappointment as chairman of Sky, after a clutch of advisors made it clear they wanted a new face leading the board.
Investor advisors PIRC (Pensions & Investment Research Consultants) issued a statement saying they wanted Murdoch to move over independence issues.
“The chairman James Murdoch is not considered independent upon appointment as he is the former Chief Executive Officer of the Company and he is part of the controlling family.
“It is considered that the Chairman should not be a former Executive and should not be connected [to] a controlling shareholder in order to protect the rights of the minority shareholders. In addition, there are concerns over his appointment as an objective nomination process was not used.”
“The Times reports this morning that Glass Lewis and ISS have also expressed concern about his independence.”
Sky’s AGM takes place on 12 October. PIRC has already recommended that shareholders vote against the reappointment of auditors Deloitte because of the ratio of non-audit to audit fees.
“Non-audit fees represented 94.44% of audit fees during the year under review and 301.14% on a three-year aggregate basis.
“This level of non-audit fees raises major concerns about the independence of the statutory auditor. Furthermore, the current auditor has been in place for more than ten years. There are concerns that failure to regularly rotate the audit firm can compromise the independence of the auditor.”