News Corp’s board of directors is meeting in Los Angeles tomorrow to hold a crisis conference–its first since the News of the World scandal broke and the company finds itself potentially facing a slew of criminal charges.
The boards of most publicly traded companies are elected by shareholders and represent their interests, hiring and firing CEOs and charting strategy; independent directors are brought in from the outside to add perspective and accountability. News Corp., though, employs a dual-class stock structure that concentrates voting power in the hands of chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch. That means he effectively chooses the board, and even most of its independent directors have spent their careers under Murdoch, are close friends, or are otherwise beholden to him.
Tuesday’s meeting will determine whether the control Murdoch exerts over his board is still total, or whether the company’s independent directors will push for change.
We’ll see how much change they can actually impact. Tough to imagine a News Corp not completely under the thumb of a Murdoch.