James Murdoch set to take over as Sky chairman again

MUMBAI: Four years after he resigned as chairman of BSkyB, which is now known as Sky Plc, Fox CEO James Murdoch is all set to take over as chairman of the company yet again.


European broadcaster Sky Plc, which is backed by Rupert Murdoch, has named James to the post after Nicholas Ferguson resigned as chairman of Sky.


James had quit BSkyB after News Corp failed to push through a takeover of the broadcaster.


Fox now owns 39 per cent of Sky, which was formerly held by News Corp.


Ferguson decided to step down as chairman and as a director of the company at the end of April after 12 years on the Board. After joining the Board as a non-executive director in 2004, he was appointed as chairman in 2012 and has led the Board during a period of strong growth for the company, including the transaction to bring together the Sky businesses across Europe.


On the other hand, James has been a director of the company since February 2003 and previously served as CEO from November 2003 to 2007 and as chairman from 2007 to 2012.


Martin Gilbert has been appointed as deputy chairman, with Andrew Sukawaty taking over his former role as Sky’s senior independent director.


Ferguson said, “It’s difficult to find the right time to step down from chairing a great company and working with an outstanding Board and management team. I joined the Board 12 years ago, in 2004, meaning that I have been with Sky for nearly half its life. When I became chairman in 2012, I wrote in the Annual Report that I would stay on long enough to ensure continuity. The then virtually new Board is now seasoned and bedded in. We have completed major international acquisitions in Germany and Italy; they are running to plan and we have first-class management in place. Sky continues to grow impressively, to innovate with wonderful products and to serve its customers to the highest standard. So now is the right time for me to step back. I am sure that the company will continue to prosper under the leadership of Jeremy supported by James and the Board.”


Murdoch said, “I would like to thank Nick for his outstanding contribution to the Board over the last decade and more. I am proud to have been asked by the Board to serve as Chairman of Sky, one of the world's leading pay TV companies. Jeremy and the team at Sky have done an outstanding job in building a dynamic and successful company. As Chairman, I look forward to working with the Board and management as they continue to deliver a great service for Sky's customers and create value for all shareholders over the years to come.”


Gilbert added, “I would like to give the warmest thanks to Nick for the major contribution he has made to Sky. He has provided valuable leadership as chairman and played a significant part in the company’s progress over many years. I am very pleased that James has agreed to succeed Nick. Having seen first-hand James's contribution to and passion for Sky, the Board feels he is uniquely qualified to become chairman. I am also pleased that Andrew Sukawaty, with his meaningful experience in public companies and in our industry, has agreed to serve as Sky’s senior independent director.”

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