Murdoch is to stay as a BSkyB boss

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James Murdoch was reappointed as a director of BSkyB at the company’s annual general meeting yesterday.

Provisional figures announced at the meeting gave him 81.2 per cent of the vote with 18.8 per cent against.

There have been calls for him to resign his role as chairman amid fears that his links to the inquiry into phone hacking at News Corporation will damage BSkyB’s reputation. Protesters calling for Mr Murdoch’s resignation gathered outside the meeting, at the QEII conference centre.

Pressure has been continuing to mount on the son of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch over his links to the phone hacking inquiry at News Corporation, amid claims it could damage the image of BSkyB.

At the meeting, deputy chairman Nicholas Ferguson took questions about Mr Murdoch’s role, prefacing them with a strong defence of his chairmanship.

He said: “He runs an excellent board. Discussions are open and frank, his chairing is very good. He has put in place strong governance procedures. He has a strong strategic view.”

Asked if the select committee hearings about phone hacking at the News of the World cast doubt either on Mr Murdoch’s honesty or competence, Mr Ferguson said: “We’ve worked with James for eight years, James is a highly competent man. As for honesty, we’ve seen nothing that makes us question his honesty.”

When Mr Bryant asked about the hacking row, Mr Ferguson said: “The public, the people in this room, understand that BSkyB is not News International.”

Guy Jubb, head of governance and stewardship at Standard Life Investments, said its votes would go against the re-election.