OLD Media Moves

Experts question News Corp. choice for Bancroft board member

November 7, 2007

Posted by Chris Roush

Martha Graybow of Reuters writes Wednesday that corporate governance experts are wondering what News Corp. was thinking when it picked a 27-year-old opera singer to represent the Bancroft family on its board after it closes its deal to acquire Dow Jones & Co., the parent of The Wall Street Journal, which the Bancrofts control.

News Corp.Graybow wrote, “Nell Minow, co-founder of the Corporate Library, a research group that tracks companies’ governance practices, said she questioned whether Natalie Bancroft was up to the job.

“‘There are no training wheels in boardrooms and she is supposed to be up and running on day one,’ Minow said. ‘It may be that she is a quick study and she is going to throw herself into this and learn all about accounting and SEC filings. It may be that they put her on the committee that plans the Christmas party and call it a day.’

“Governance experts say that directors should be financially literate and understand documents such as a balance sheet or cash flow statement.

“Outside board members are charged with being shareholder watchdogs who oversee a company and its management.”

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