First Super to sell its News Corp shares
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Industry fund First Super will be selling its News Corp shares after a global push to end Rupert Murdoch's dual role as chairman and chief executive failed.
First Super said it has asked its fund managers to dispose of its News Corp shares in its portfolios over the next few months.
The move comes after a global bid, which First Super joined, to push Mr Murdoch from his role as chairman of the News Corp board was defeated at the company's annual general meeting on October 16.
First Super co-chairman and investment committee chairman Michael O'Connor said the failure of the proposals for an independent News Corp chairperson and more independent directors meant that the inadequacies of the company's governance structure would continue and the risks that posed for investors were unacceptable.
"Open, transparent, representative governance is not only overdue but essential for improved risk management within the company," he said.
"Further, the interests of minority shareholders have too often been compromised. But these issues are apparently of no concern to Rupert Murdoch, so our board decided to take his advice and sell down our shareholding."
The call to have Mr Murdoch replaced as chairman was led by US-based Christian Brothers Investment Services and Britain's Local Authority Pension Fund Forum.
There was a similar push to oust the 81-year-old media mogul at News Corp's 2011 AGM which also failed to pass.
First Super also voted against the re-election of four board directors, including Mr Murdoch's sons James and Lachlan Murdoch and gave the thumbs down to News Corp's executive compensation report.
"News Corp executives are paid outrageous amounts of money," Mr O'Connor said.
"The aggregate cash pay of their top six executives last year was $US65.5 million, more than three times the amount received by the top nine executives of BHP Billiton, and they are by no means underpaid.
"Our board doesn't believe that any senior executive is worth four or five hundred times the average salary paid to their employees."
News Corp declined to comment but referred to the proxy statement sent to shareholders before the 2012 annual general meeting which said that Mr Murdoch's dual roles of chairman and chief executive offered several benefits.
"The board considered Mr K R Murdoch's unique insight and strategic vision which make him the most capable of leading the board in discussions of the execution of the company's strategy," the statement said.
The statement also said that News Corp's compensation framework effectively aligns pay with individual and company performance.