BSkyB Director Under Pressure Over Multiple Jobs

06 January 2004

Serial board member Allan Leighton is reportedly under pressure to step down as a non-executive director of UK satellite giant BSkyB.

Leighton is part-time chairman of UK postal operator Royal Mail and also serves as a director at etailer, high street retail chain BHS, domestic appliance group Dyson and homebuilder Wilson Connolly -- all of which, fear some at BSkyB, leave him little time to nurture the satellite firm.

Some senior directors at the company -- 35.4%-owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation -- are said to be uneasy at Leighton's multiple commitments. "There are a number of people, both inside and outside Sky, who think that he has taken on too much," declared one insider.

However, sources close to the Royal Mail boss insist nobody at BSkyB has asked him to step down. In fact, Leighton recently took on more responsibility at the firm when he became chairman of the audit committee in November.

The company's corporate governance is currently under review, leading to speculation about possible arrivals and exits. It has been rumoured that BSkyB will shed several non-executive directors with ties to NewsCorp, though sources at the satellite firm have denied this. Another potential departure is finance director Martin Stewart, whose application for the chief executive post was rejected in favour of the chairman's son, James Murdoch.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff