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Talks to be held over James Murdoch's post.

Bskyb is preparing for a round of talks with major shareholders following the appointment of Rupert Murdoch's son James as chief executive.

The company is under pressure to explain how it reached its decision amid concerns from lobby groups about the influence of a father-and-son partnership at its helm.

The meetings involving independent non-executive directors will take place with major institutional investors and lobby groups such as the Association of British Insurers and the National Association of Pension Funds.

The ABI and NAPF are still considering their responses to the appointment of 30-year-old Star TV boss James as successor to Tony Ball.

The two groups are concerned about the corporate governance issues stemming from the top job being filled by the son of the chairman, and whose company owns 35pc of BSkyB.

An ABI spokeswoman: "Our initial reaction is that we continue to have concerns about the appointment of James Murdoch.

"We will be looking at the information given by the company in great detail and going from there."

The appointment of James Murdoch is likely to increase the pressure on the company ahead of its AGM on November 14.

The NAPF has already called for members to vote against the re-appointment of Lord St John of Fawsley because it believes his 12 years on the board mean he can no longer be considered an independent non-executive director.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 5, 2003
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