BSkyB is now James Murdoch‘s lone remaining board membership after auction house Sotheby’s revealed in an SEC filing that News Corp‘s deputy COO won’t seek re-election to its board of directors. The filing, which said Murdoch will “focus on his core responsibilities” at News Corp, is the latest fall-out from the phone-hacking scandal that has engulfed the conglomerate in the UK since it broke open in July. Murdoch this year has also stepped down from his post atop News Corp’s UK newspaper division News International and departed the board at ClaxoSmithKline.
Meanwhile, BSkyB shareholders also have raised up calling for him to resign as board chairman at the pay TV giant, putting that post in jeopardy as well. Earlier this month, UK communications regulator Ofcom announced it has ramped up a probe into whether Murdoch and News Corp are “fit and proper” persons to own a broadcast license; News Corp had to jettison a plan to buy the 61% of BSkyB it didn’t already own after the hacking scandal surfaced. If they are deemed unfit, speculation is News Corp could be forced to reduce its BSkyB stake to a non-controlling level while James Murdoch could be forced to step down.
This all comes at a time when the UK government is prepping a report on the hacking scandal that forced the shutdown of News Corp’s News Of The World tabloid. The committee has called Murdoch twice in the investigation, which includes the hacking as well as alleged bribing of police officials. This week, Murdoch send a letter to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee defending himself against claims he misled officials during the probe about what he knew about the hacking practices.
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