Elisabeth Murdoch rejects joining News Corp board as 'inappropriate'

THE daughter of Rupert Murdoch will not be joining the board of her father's News Corporation conglomerate as expected, the company said yesterday.

Elisabeth Murdoch suggested to the company's directors that it would be "inappropriate" for her to join the board, News Corporation said in a statement.

Ms Murdoch, 42, was expected to join the News Corporation board after it bought Shine Group, the television production company she runs. Earlier this year, her father said he expected her to make the move upon completion of the 415 million deal.

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But in a statement, Viet Dinh, chairman of the nominating and corporate governance committee of the News Corporation board of directors, said last night: "Elisabeth Murdoch suggested to the independent directors some weeks ago that she felt it would be inappropriate to include her nomination to the board of News Corp at this year's AGM, as had been announced by chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch at the time of the acquisition of Shine Group earlier this year.

"The independent directors agreed that the previously planned nomination should be delayed.

"Both Elisabeth and the board hope this decision reaffirms that News Corp aspires to the highest standards of corporate governance and will continue to act in the best interests of all stakeholders, be they shareholders, employees or the billions of consumers who News Corp content informs, entertains and sometimes provokes every year."

The decision comes as the media giant faces increased scrutiny and several shareholder lawsuits in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal that led to the closure of the News of the World newspaper.

According to reports, some shareholders believe the 16-member board of News Corp is too beholden to Rupert Murdoch, 80.

The Murdochs control nearly 40 per cent of the voting shares through a family trust, and Murdoch's two sons James, 38, and Lachlan, 39, already sit alongside him on the board.

In February, after announcing plans for News Corporation to buy the Shine Group, Rupert Murdoch said: "Shine has an outstanding creative team that has built a significant independent production company in major markets in very few years, and I look forward to them becoming an important part of our varied and large content creation activities.

"I expect Liz Murdoch to join the board of News Corporation on completion of this transaction."

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The company produced shows including Ashes To Ashes, Masterchef and The Tudors, as well as Merlin and Spooks.

It is understood that Ms Murdoch, who owned a 53 per cent stake in the company, with Sony holding 20 per cent and BSkyB a further 13 per cent, made 153m after completing the sale to News Corp. She is married to public relations executive Matthew Freud.

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