Push to oust Murdoch falls flat at AGM

Shareholders have voted down calls for change at the helm of News Corporation.

A push to oust Rupert Murdoch as chairman and a campaign to change the makeup of the company's board failed despite gaining global traction amongst institutional investor groups and pension funds representing billions of dollars of News Corp stock.

Murdoch told the company's annual meeting of shareholders in Los Angeles that preliminary votes supported the current board recommendations.

Some investors wanted a new chairman to be appointed, rather than Murdoch holding down the role as well as serving as chief executive, while there were also campaigns for the 81-year-old mogul to be removed from the board along with his sons, James and Lachlan.

In the wake of last year's News of the World phone hacking scandal in the UK, it is the second successive annual meeting to feature failed calls for change in News Corporation management and governance.

However, this year, for the first time, shareholders were able to vote via proxy on resolutions involving the Murdochs rather than having travel to the meeting held at Hollywood's Daryl F Zanuck Theatre.

While statistics on the vote are not yet available, even if the vast majority of eligible voters wanted change, the Murdoch family's more than 12 per cent ownership of the company gives them 40 per cent of voting shares, almost guaranteeing defeat for campaigners.