News Corp. Shareholders Reject Motion to Split Chairman, CEO Roles

News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWSA) shareholders on Friday rejected a proposal to elect an independent chairman in place of Rupert Murdoch, who also holds the position of CEO.

A floor resolution, initiated by Christian Brothers Investment Services, was endorsed by a group of dissident investors at News Corp.’s annual shareholders meeting in California.

Murdoch, News Corp.’s founder, will remain chairman and CEO of the New York-based media conglomerate.

The dissident voters were spurred to action primarily by a phone-hacking scandal at one of News Corp.’s British tabloids, the News of the World, which was shut down at Murdoch’s order in July. Reporters and editors at the paper stand accused of illegally hacking the phones of celebrities, politicians and private citizens -- notably, a 13-year-old schoolgirl who was murdered -- to obtain scoops.

On Friday, News Corp. agreed to pay 2 million pounds ($3.2 million) to the family of the murder victim whose phone was hacked. Murdoch will also donate 1 million pounds ($1.6 million) to charities selected by the girl’s family.

A representative of CalPERs, the pension fund for California’s public employees and the largest of its kind in the U.S., endorsed the floor resolution during the meeting. CalPERs owns about 1.45 million News Corp. shares.

Earlier, CalPERs had announced its decision to withhold support for Murdoch’s re-election as chairman. The pension fund also said it would vote against re-electing Murdoch’s sons James and Lachlan to the board. Both were re-elected to their positions.

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