The board of directors at BSkyB has unanimously voted to keep James Murdoch as CEO after meeting in London today and also approved a $1.6 billion stock buyback. Both moves were expected; Murdoch is deputy COO of News Corp, which owns 40% of the UK satcaster’s shares. Murdoch’s fate has been in question since the News of the World phone-hacking scandal rocked the media world, with allegations that Murdoch, in charge of News Corp’s UK newspaper division, might have known about the practice and lied about it to the UK parliament. The re-appointment of Murdoch comes the same day fresh allegations arose that then-News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks gave a cell phone to the mother of an 8-year-old murder victim that was eventually hacked by the paper’s reporters. Brooks, who rose to head of News Corp’s News International unit, resigned last month and eventually was arrested for her part in the scandal. She is now out on bail and denies the latest allegation. Meanwhile, the board’s authorization of the stock buyback means News Corp likely will sell some of its stock in BSkyB to avoid increasing its stake — which certainly would be unpopular with the UK public as well as other shareholders in the current climate.
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