The opposition was significant, given his father Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox is Sky’s largest shareholder with about 39% of the outstanding shares.
About 85% of the voting capital was represented, Sky said. The board’s decision to reappoint the younger Mr Murdoch as chairman in January was unanimous, Sky said.
“We continue to believe that James Murdoch’s reappointment as chairman of Sky is inappropriate,” Piers Hillier, chief investment officer at Royal London Asset Management, said ahead of the shareholders’ meeting.
“Should Fox make a bid for Sky, investors need a strong independent chairman to protect the interests of minority shareholders and negotiate the best possible deal,” he said.
The meeting represented the first opportunity for Sky shareholders to weigh in on Murdoch’s second act as chairman.
He had stepped down while remaining on Sky’s board, in the wake of a hacking scandal at a News Corp tabloid. News Corp, where James Murdoch had led the UK business, subsequently split in two, and he is now chief executive of the Fox film and TV business.
Sky’s board said it had noted the vote against the re-election of James Murdoch and said it was aware that some proxy advisory services recommended shareholders oppose his election on the basis that he isn’t independent.
The company will “engage with those shareholders” Sky said.