James Murdoch to leave GSK board of directors

With a phone hacking scandal still raging or smoldering, depending on the moment, James Murdoch - son of media baron Rupert Murdoch - will not continue as a member of the GlaxoSmithKline board of directors, the company said Friday morning.

James Murdoch is chairman and chief executive of international operations at News Corp. One subsidiary is the satellite TV company BSkyB. The company and family have taken heat because the phone hacking mess implicated people who worked for the now-defunct tabloid News of the World.

James Murdoch has said he didn't know about the hacking. Former colleagues have reportedly disputed that assertion.

GSK is based in London, but has operations in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. About 1300 employees work in Center City, though they will move later this year to a building under construction at the Navy Yard.

The Murdoch departure and other board changes will occur after the annual general meeting (AGM) on May 3.

In a statement, board chairman Sir Christopher Gent said of Murdoch, "James Murdoch has decided to stand down from the Board with effect from this year’s AGM. James has taken this decision to focus on his current duties as Non-executive Chairman of BSkyB, and following his decision to re-locate to the United States, as Chairman and Chief Executive, International, of News Corporation. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank James for the very strong contribution he has made since he was appointed in 2009 and wish him well for the future.”

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