The British parliamentary panel investigating phone hacking by News Corp. concluded in a report released today that Rupert Murdoch is "not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company" and that Murdoch "exhibited willful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publications." The New York Times reported:
In a damning report after months of investigation into the hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch's newspapers here, a British parliamentary panel concluded on Tuesday that Mr. Murdoch was "not a fit person" to run a huge international company.
The report said Mr. Murdoch exhibited "willful blindness" toward wrongdoing at his organization and said News Corporation, his New York-based global conglomerate, had made "huge failings of corporate governance." The consequences of the panel's findings were not immediately clear.
"On the basis of the facts and evidence before the committee, we conclude that, if at all relevant times Rupert Murdoch did not take steps to become fully informed about phone hacking, he turned a blind eye and exhibited willful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publications," the report said. "This culture, we consider, permeated from the top throughout the organization and speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International," its British newspaper subsidiary.
"We conclude, therefore, that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company."
During testimony last week, Murdoch admitted a "cover-up" to hide the widespread phone hacking at The News of the World and apologized for the scandal. Bloomberg has reported that there were likely more than 1,000 victims of The News of the World's phone hacking.