James Murdoch is set to replace Nicholas Ferguson as chairman of European pay-TV operator Sky in April; Ferguson has been on the company’s board for 12 years.
Per that board, the decision to step down was Ferguson’s. After joining the corporate leadership group as a non-executive director in 2004, Ferguson was appointed as chairman in 2012, and is credited with leading the company through transactions that united the Sky businesses across Europe.
Murdoch (pictured above), a son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, has been a director of Sky since February 2003. He previously served as chief executive from November 2003 to 2007, and as chairman from 2007 to 2012.
Additionally, Martin Gilbert has been appointed as deputy chairman. Andrew Sukawaty will take over Gilbert’s former role as Sky’s senior independent director.
“It’s difficult to find the right time to step down from chairing a great company and working with an outstanding board and management team,” Ferguson said. “I joined the board 12 years ago, in 2004, meaning that I have been with Sky for nearly half its life. When I became chairman in 2012, I wrote in the Annual Report that I would stay on long enough to ensure continuity.”
“The then virtually new board is now seasoned and bedded in,” he continued. “We have completed major international acquisitions in Germany and Italy; they are running to plan and we have first-class management in place. Sky continues to grow impressively, to innovate with wonderful products and to serve its customers to the highest standard. So now is the right time for me to step back. I am sure that the company will continue to prosper under the leadership of Jeremy supported by James and the board.”
“I would like to thank Nick for his outstanding contribution to the board over the last decade and more,” Murdoch said in his own statement. “I am proud to have been asked by the board to serve as chairman of Sky, one of the world’s leading pay TV companies. Jeremy and the team at Sky have done an outstanding job in building a dynamic and successful company. As chairman, I look forward to working with the board and management as they continue to deliver a great service for Sky’s customers and create value for all shareholders over the years to come.”
“I would like to give the warmest thanks to Nick for the major contribution he has made to Sky.” Gilbert added. “He has provided valuable leadership as chairman and played a significant part in the company’s progress over many years. I am very pleased that James has agreed to succeed Nick. Having seen first-hand James’s contribution to and passion for Sky, the board feels he is uniquely qualified to become chairman. I am also pleased that Andrew Sukawaty, with his meaningful experience in public companies and in our industry, has agreed to serve as Sky’s senior independent director.”