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News Corp Board Defends Rupert Murdoch’s “Fitness” To Remain CEO

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It’s come to this: The News Corp board says that it still has “full confidence” in its CEO — in part because of his “demonstrated resolve to address the mistakes” the company made in the UK hacking scandal. The statement followed a directors’ meeting today and comes in response to yesterday’s conclusion by Parliament’s Culture Media and Sport Committee that Murdoch’s handling of the scandal made him “not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.” The board’s opinion isn’t surprising; Murdoch controls nearly 40% of the voting shares in his company. But the fact that directors felt they had to say something suggests how deeply concerned the company must be about the public’s reaction. UK broadcasting regulator Ofcom has said that it’s studying the committee report. If it finds that Murdoch is not “fit and proper” to control a broadcast license, then it could force him to sell much of his 39% stake in BSkyB — the television power that Murdoch hoped to own before the scandal broke open last year. Murdoch said yesterday, in a note to employees, that “We certainly should have acted more quickly and aggressively to uncover wrongdoing.”

Here’s the board’s statement:

NEW YORK, NY – May 2, 2012 — The Board of Directors of News Corporation met today and announced its full confidence in Rupert Murdoch’s fitness and support for his continuing to lead News Corporation into the future as its Chairman and CEO. The Board based its vote of confidence on Rupert Murdoch’s vision and leadership in building News Corporation, his ongoing performance as Chairman and CEO, and his demonstrated resolve to address the mistakes of the Company identified in the Select Committee’s report.

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