Key investor calls for Murdoch eviction from News Corp board

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RUPERT Murdoch’s multi-million dollar campaign to win back the hearts and minds of News Corporation’s independent investors has suffered a new blow after another key shareholder group called for his eviction from its board.

Hermes Equity Ownership Services, the shareholder advisory service linked to Britain’s largest pension fund, issued a rallying cry to investors to vote against all Murdoch family re-elections to the board of the embattled media group at next week’s annual general meeting on October 21.

“The time is right for the company to appoint an independent chairman to rebuild trust, help correct the governance discount, and ensure the interests of all investors are properly represented,” said Jennifer Walmsley, director of Hermes Equity Ownership Services.

The organisation, which votes on behalf of the BT Pension Fund and more than 20 other institutional clients running $140bn of assets, has also called for an independent investigation into the phone hacking scandal that led to the closure of tabloid News of the World. HEOS members hold 0.5 per cent of News Corp’s shares.