NEW YORK — October 21, 2013 — Approximately two-thirds of independent Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. shareholders voted in favor of a resolution calling for the appointment of an independent Chair of the Board at the company’s annual shareholder meeting on October 18, 2013 in Los Angeles, casting doubt on whether shareholders see their interests as aligned with those of the Murdoch family. The resolution received support from 29% of all shareholders and 64% of independent shareholders.
The shareholder proposal to strip Mr. Murdoch of his chairmanship was jointly introduced by Christian Brothers Investment Services (CBIS) and Canada-based British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (bcIMC), with support from the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) in the U.K.
“The level of family control – Mr. Murdoch owns 40% of voting shares – and the dual-class share structure were engineered to keep power in the hands of Mr. Murdoch,” said Julie Tanner, Assistant Director of Socially Responsible Investing at CBIS. “While it is virtually impossible for a shareholder resolution to “pass” at Twenty-First Century Fox, this strong result compels the board to take action. Until then, shareholders will continue to voice their disapproval through the few channels available to them.”
“Unfortunately, some of the corporate governance problems at News Corp. are just being repeated at Twenty-First Century Fox,” said Doug Pearce, Chief Investment Officer and Chief Executive Officer of bcIMC. “The new company deserves a fresh start, with proper oversight and adequate controls on power.”
“Once again, shareholders have made their feelings clear,” said Kieran Quinn, Chair of LAPFF. “This is the second year running that a majority of minority shareholders have backed the need for an independent chair. We encourage the board to respond constructively to a clear message from the company’s shareholders.”
The independent shareholder calculation was made by removing the Murdoch family’s shares from the votes cast. See the company’s 8-K filing.
About Christian Brothers Investment Services
Christian Brothers Investment Services, Inc. (CBIS) is a leader in Catholic socially responsible investing (SRI) with approximately $4.6 billion in AUM for Catholic institutions worldwide, including dioceses, religious institutes, educational institutions and health care organizations. CBIS’ combination of premier institutional asset managers, diversified product offerings, and careful risk-control strategies constitutes a unique investment approach for Catholic institutions and their fiduciaries. CBIS strives to integrate faith-based values into the investment process through a disciplined approach to socially responsible investing that includes principled purchasing (stock screens), active ownership strategies (proxy voting, dialogues, and shareholder resolutions), and community investment. www.cbisonline.com
The British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (bcIMC) is one of Canada’s largest institutional investors managing a global investment portfolio of more than C$100 billion as at March 31, 2013. As a responsible investor, bcIMC incorporates environmental, social and governance considerations into our investment processes to protect and grow the long-term financial value of our clients’ funds. Based in Victoria, British Columbia, bcIMC invests in all major asset classes including infrastructure and other strategic investments. bcIMC’s clients include public sector pension plans, public trusts, and insurance funds. For more information visit www.bcimc.com.
The Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF, www.lapfforum.org), which was set up in 1991, is a voluntary association of 55 public sector pension funds based in the UK. It exists “to promote the long-term investment interests of local authority pension funds, and to maximize their influence as shareholders to promote corporate responsibility and high standards of corporate governance amongst the companies in which they invest.” The Forum’s members currently have combined assets of over £115 billion. PIRC is the Research and Engagement partner of the Forum.