BSkyB Appoints Two Additional Independent Directors

16 June 2004

In a sop to corporate governance demands by institutional investors, the NewsCorp-controlled British satellite broadcaster BSkyB -- Europe's largest pay-TV operator -- has elected two additional 'independent' non-executive directors to its board.

Boosting board numbers to fifteen are Nicholas Ferguson (55), a paid-up member of the City of London financial establishment and chief executive of private equity firm SVG Capital; plus the finance and strategy director of top UK supermarket group Tesco, Andy Higginson (46).

Of the fifteen seats around the BSkyB boardroom table, a majority (eight) now accommodate 'independent' and non-executive posteriors. Excluding the newcomers, the Sky board comprises a brace of nobles (Lord Richard Wilson of Dinton and Lord Norman St John Stevas of Fawsley -- both former politicos and collectors of company directorships).

Also serving are David Evans, president of Crown Media Holdings; Jacques A Nasser, former president/ceo of Ford Europe; Allan Leighton, chairman of the Royal Mail and directorship epicure; plus Gail Rebuck, chairman/ceo of Bertelsmann-owned publisher Random House.

Peter Montagnon, head of investment affairs at the Association of British Insurers -- and a vocal critic of the recent appointment of James Murdoch as Sky's ceo -- is placated by the new appointments.

"The move to ensure that a majority of the board is independent is a significant step in the right direction as this will help to ensure that the board is working in the interests of all shareholders."

Data sourced from: Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff