Board tries to slow Rupert’s fall
‘Ask anyone’s mother here who Rupert Murdoch is and you will get blank stares,” says Rich Greenfield, an analyst at BTIG, adding that other News Corp assets seem unaffected by the scandal. At parties for the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner last month, many reporters remarked on how the hacking scandal had very little traction or traffic among readers.
But the primary reason Murdoch has not been held to account is that the board of News Corp has no independence, little influence and no stomach for confronting its chairman.
Like many media companies, News Corp has a two-tiered stock set-up that gives the family control of the voting shares. The board includes family members and several senior executives; the independent slots are filled by a host of familiars.
Viet Dinh, a former Bush administration official, is godfather to Lachlan Murdoch’s son. Roderick Eddington was deputy chairman of a division of the company in the late 1990s. Andrew Knight and Arthur Siskind are both former senior executives, and John Thornton, the former Goldman Sachs president, served as an adviser to News Corp on several major deals.
The board also includes Natalie Bancroft, an opera singer who made a great deal of money when her family sold Dow Jones, which included The Wall Street Journal, to Murdoch in 2007, and Jose Maria Aznar, the former prime minister of Spain, who is a friend of Murdoch’s.