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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 February, 2004, 14:38 GMT
BSkyB finance chief Stewart quits
Sky viewing card
UK satellite broadcasting giant BSkyB has lost its chief financial officer Martin Stewart just three months after he failed to secure the top job.

Mr Stewart - who had been in the running to become chief executive after the departure of Tony Ball last year - is leaving "to pursue other interests".

Rupert Murdoch's son James was appointed chief executive of the pay-TV group in November last year.

BSkyB has not yet announced a replacement for Mr Stewart.

Controversy

The younger Murdoch's appointment was fiercely contested by some shareholders when he took up the post in October.

They feared that James Murdoch would favour News Corporation's interests and that he was not experienced enough to run a major company.

James Murdoch
Some shareholders contested James Murdoch's appointment
The City was increasingly concerned that the controversial appointment would lead top executives to exit the company.

In response, BSkyB set up a new corporate governance committee to look at what changes, if any, were needed in Sky's boardroom.

"It can be taken as (James Murdoch) stamping his authority all over the firm and getting rid of the last Tony Ball ally, which is Martin Stewart, who is very highly thought of," said one anonymous investment banker in London, speaking to Reuters.

When Tony Ball quit the firm he was given a 10m payment on the condition that he did not take up a job with one of Sky's rivals.

But Sky has refused to say whether Mr Stewart would receive a similar sweetener.


SEE ALSO:
Boarding school to boardroom
10 Nov 03  |  Business
Why Sky stuck with Murdoch's son
11 Nov 03  |  Entertainment
Shareholder group criticises BSkyB
05 Nov 03  |  Business
The City looks Sky-ward and scowls
04 Nov 03  |  Business
Q&A: Murdoch Jr takes BSkyB reins
04 Nov 03  |  Business


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