Shareholder of Fox Corp. was mildly offended when he asked whether and how the company was doing anything structurally to protect itself from legal liability related to the 2020 election, and whether and how its executive compensation policy could have been adjusted to reflect ongoing legal risk.
At the company’s annual meeting, John Chevedden noted that Fox paid $787 million last spring in a settlement with Dominion Voting Systems just before the trial began. Another company, Smartmatic, is suing for $2.7 billion. These are big chunks of cash. Chevedden, who appears everywhere, is a leading supporter of shareholder proposals in the US every year
Chase Carey, who serves on the board’s compensation committee and is present at the annual conference at Fox’s Zanuck Theater, did not provide a specific answer. He noted “improvements” to payment rules this year over last. Compensation is based on both qualitative and quantitative measures. The first is mathematical in nature, the second is more subjective and more delicate. Overall, he said the council’s criteria measure “all the right things that we want to measure” and “capture these types of issues.” He did not specify. Chevvenden asked Carey to contact him if he had more details.
Notably, during the meeting, Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch spoke out against rising anti-Jewish sentiment in the wake of Hamas’ attack on Israel, which led to devastating violence in Gaza. “In addition to the war, we have unfortunately witnessed the rise of anti-Semitism both abroad and in our communities. It’s important that we all stand up [that] we deal with all forms of anti-Semitism,” he said.
He praised the work of “brave” Fox employees “reporting from war zones around the world under the most difficult and harrowing circumstances.”
He also took time to honor his father, 92-year-old Rupert Murdoch, who is stepping down as chairman of Fox and News Corp to become chairman emeritus. I want to thank and congratulate my father, who is also with us today as we celebrate his transition as President Emeritis at Fox, the unique and strong company he has built over so many years.” There was applause, followed by a montage of Rupe’s life and career.
“Dad, on behalf of the Fox board, leadership team and all shareholders who have benefited from your work, we thank you for your vision, your insatiable curiosity and your legacy,” he said. “We look forward to your continued advice and contributions in the years to come.” More applause.
Fox and News Corp. announced in September that the elder Murdoch would step down as chairman of the boards of both companies he built over more than half a century at their annual meetings.
Lachlan, the eldest son, is currently the sole CEO of News Corp. following its annual meeting earlier this week, and remains executive chairman and chief executive officer of Fox Corporation.
Wednesday on the News. Corp. Rupert vowed to continue to play an active role in both and praised Lachlan as a “principled leader and someone who believes in the social purpose of journalism.”
He was less complimentary about those he called the “intolerant elite” who “consider different opinions a curse.”
“Like my father, I believe that humanity has a ‘great destiny,’ and Lachlan certainly shares that belief,” he said at the time. “This sense of destiny is not only a blessing, but also a responsibility.”