The Board of British Sky Broadcasting Group plc (‘BSkyB’ or ‘the Company’) today announced that James Murdoch has stepped down as Chairman and will continue to serve in his capacity as a Non-Executive Director of the Company.
Mr Murdoch is succeeded as Chairman of BSkyB by Nicholas Ferguson, who was appointed as a Director of the Company in June 2004 and previously served as Deputy Chairman and Senior Independent Non-Executive Director. Tom Mockridge, who joined the Board in February 2009, has been appointed as Deputy Chairman. Andrew Higginson, who has been a Director of BSkyB since September 2004, succeeds Nicholas Ferguson as Senior Independent Non-Executive Director.
In a letter to the Board setting out the reasons for his resignation, Mr Murdoch said: "I have been privileged to serve first as Chief Executive and then as Chairman of this outstanding company and I am proud of what we have achieved over this period."
Mr Murdoch continued: "As attention continues to be paid to past events at News International, I am determined that the interests of BSkyB should not be undermined by matters outside the scope of this Company." He added: "I am aware that my role as Chairman could become a lightning rod for BSkyB and I believe that my resignation will help to ensure that there is no false conflation with events at a separate organisation."
Mr Ferguson commented: "On behalf of the entire Board, I would like to thank James Murdoch for the outstanding contribution he has made both as CEO and Chairman of BSkyB. With his vision, drive and strategic insight, the Company has performed exceptionally and continues to transform itself to take advantage of a broader growth opportunity in home entertainment and communications.
"The Board’s support for James and belief in his integrity remain strong. We understand his decision to step aside at this time and we both welcome and look forward to his continued contribution as a non-executive director. The entire Board and management remain fully focused on maintaining BSkyB’s strong progress, delivering an outstanding service for customers and creating value for all shareholders."
Notes to Editors
1. Letter from James Murdoch to the Board of BSkyB
As you know, my actions as a Director of BSkyB have been governed at all times by what is in the best interests of the Company, its customers and its shareholders. I have been privileged to serve first as Chief Executive and then as Chairman of this outstanding company and I am proud of what we have achieved over this period. We have invested to create choice for many millions of customers, grown our contribution to life in the UK and significantly increased returns for shareholders.
I have now decided that this is the right time for me to step aside as Chairman and, with the support of the Board and shareholders, continue to serve the Company as a Non-Executive Director. As attention continues to be paid to past events at News International, I am determined that the interests of BSkyB should not be undermined by matters outside the scope of this Company.
I have been transparent in my evidence and have behaved ethically at all times. However, there continues to be extensive and voluminous commentary around these matters. I am aware that my role as Chairman could become a lightning rod for BSkyB and I believe that my resignation will help to ensure that there is no false conflation with events at a separate organisation.
BSkyB is a great success story and its positive contribution to British broadcasting, and to the country more broadly, should not be questioned. With a strong Board and outstanding management team, I am confident that the Company will achieve even more in the future. I look forward to making a continued contribution in my role as a Non-Executive Director.
2. Biographical notes
Nicholas Ferguson, Chairman
Nicholas Ferguson was appointed as a Director of BSkyB on 15 June 2004, Senior Independent Non-Executive Director on 12 June 2007 and Deputy Chairman on 16 June 2010. Mr Ferguson is Chairman of SVG Capital plc, a publicly-quoted private equity group, and was formerly Chairman of Schroder Ventures. He is also Chairman of the Courtauld Institute of Art.
Andrew Higginson, Senior Independent Non-Executive Director
Andrew Higginson was appointed as a Director of BSkyB on 1 September 2004. Mr Higginson is Chief Executive of Retailing Services and Group Strategy Director of Tesco plc (Tesco). Mr Higginson was appointed to the Board of Tesco in 1997, having previously been the Group Finance Director of the Burton Group plc. Mr Higginson will retire from Tesco plc on 31 August 2012.
Tom Mockridge, Deputy Chairman
Tom Mockridge was appointed as a Director of BSkyB on 10 February 2009. Mr Mockridge was appointed as CEO of News International in July 2011. Previously, he was CEO of Sky Italia and Chief Executive, European Television of News Corporation where he oversaw News Corporation’s television operations in Europe, outside the UK. Prior to joining Sky Italia, Mr Mockridge held various roles at Star Group Limited and was previously CEO of Foxtel, News Corporation’s Pay-TV joint venture with Telstra.
James Murdoch, Non-Executive Director
James Murdoch was appointed as a Director of the Company on 13 February 2003 and Chairman on 7 December 2007. Between November 2003 and December 2007 he was Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Company, a role he relinquished on his appointment as Non-Executive Chairman. Mr Murdoch is Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Chairman and CEO, International, at News Corporation and is a member of News Corporation's Board of Directors and Executive Committee. Between May 2000 and November 2003, he was Chairman and CEO of Star.