James Breyer, a partner at venture capitalist firm Accel Partners with a strong background in media and technology companies, has been nominated to join the News Corp. board. The board will vote on the matter Company's Annual Meeting of Stockholders on October 21, 2011 in Los Angeles, CA.
As Breyer looks to join the board, two members will depart — fellow venture capitalist Tom Perkins, a former Hewlett-Packard board member, and Kenneth Crowley, who has been involved with News Corp. for nearly 50 years.
Changes to the board will draw even more scrutiny than normal because of the phone hacking scandal that has consumed media conglomerate for the past two months. As the stench of the scandal, which originated at the now-shuttered British tabloid the News of the World, began to taint the executive ranks of News International, News Corp.'s British publishing arm, it raised questions about who else knew.
That includes News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch and his son James, both of whom had to testify before the UK Parliament. James in particular remains under scrutiny since it has been debated whether or not he misled Parliament.
The extent of potential complicity led to the board's involvement in an internal investigations and led some to speculate that it would displace Murdoch with Chase Carey, deputy chairman and chief operating officer.
With ethical questions still bedeviling News Corp., Perkins' departure has already raised some eyebrows because he was considered one of the board's more independent members. However, Perkins has stood by Perkins and the company as a whole since the scandal began.
Murdoch did not provide any explanation for the departure of Perkins or Crowley. Rather, he thanked them for their insight.
The addition of Breyer brings greater technological know-how and investing savvy. Breyer is also on the board of Wal-Mart an Dell, and has played a major role in investing in a bevy of newer tech start-ups like Groupon and Facebook.
"Jim has a remarkable track record in the investment community and his background in media and technology will enable him to make significant contributions to News Corporation's Board," Rupert Murdoch said in a statement.