News Corp. is shuffling their board in the wake of heavy criticism over a lack of independent directors. Following the company's shareholder meeting on October 21, former News Corp. executive Kenneth Cowley and venture capitalist Tom Perkins will step down from the board and Oct Jim Breyer from Accel Partners, an early Facebook investor, will join. Doubts have already been raised about the changing of the guard, especially regarding Perkins's departure. Perkins has been a vocal critic of Murdoch and News Corp. during the phone hacking scandal, prompting Jeff Goldfarb at Reuters to call him "the closest thing to a truly independent director amid the roster of Rupert Murdoch cronies."
Breyer is a well-pedigreed replacement for Perkins. As Jeff Bercovici explains at Forbes:
Recruiting Breyer to the board, meanwhile, would be a considerable coup at any time, and particularly now. The Accel Partners venture capitalist was No. 1 on the 2011 Forbes Midas List of the top tech investors. Ideally, he could play a role similar to the one that Apple's Steve Jobs has fulfilled on Disney's board: supplying a savvy about digital matters that would enable News Corp. to avoid more stumbles like its calamitous acquisition of MySpace. It doesn't hurt that Accel Partners is the biggest outside stakeholder in Facebook, a company with which every big media player would love to have a closer relationship.
Breyer seems so far optimistic about joining News Corp., despite the recent scandal. "I consider it a privilege to be nominated and I am excited about the prospect of joining News Corp.'s distinguished Board at this exciting time in the Company’s history," said Breyer in a statement.