As James Murdoch prepares for a second line of questioning from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, one of the key investors of News Corp, Julie Tanner of CBIS, remembers the AGM where democracy fought back against the Murdoch family.
Assistant director at Christian Brothers Investment Services (CBIS), Julie Tanner has for a long time advocated transparency.
CBIS, a leader in socially responsible investing, prides itself in promoting "transparent corporate governance and making boards accountable to shareholders".
In 2005 it raised concerns with Time Warner over the issue of an independent chair, and more recently made the same complaint with Goldman Sachs. Then, during the summer, news of the phone hacking scandal emerged that sent shockwaves across the media. How could a national newspaper be so wreckless? How could its corporate governance be so negligent? By the time the News Corp AGM was held in October, shareholders had decided to do something.
"It was clear that investors wanted to use their vote to speak out against board members and to the Murdoch family," says Mrs Tanner. "It is apparent that independent shareholders believe this insider arrangement is the polar opposite of transparent corporate governance."
In a protest vote, more than half of the shareholders voted against the reinstatement of James Murdoch as CEO of News Corp and although he was re-elected to the board, the 232 million votes against him has severely undermined his position.
CBIS became aware of the phone hacking scandal when it was revealed that the Sunday tabloid, the News of the Worldm had hacked the phone of Milly Dowler, a teenager murdered in 2002. Following the discovery, the newspaper was been shut down within weeks, by Ruper Murdoch.
"Our concerns were raised due to the phone hacking scandal that led to an erosion of public confidence [within the corporation], said Tanner. "It threatened the journalistic reputation and viability of publications critical to News Corporation's success."
The NOTW closure wasn't enough to stop the momentum as further information began to be revealed. A domino effect had been put in motion that led to the arrest of journalists, former editors and investigators. And then Rupert and James Murdoch were called in front of the parliamentary committee.
The series of incidents led to massive drop in investor confidence and CBIS, along with other shareholders, realised that the AGM was a chance to voice concern against News Corp - a company they had invested millions of dollars into.
"The events that led to the closure of News Corporation's News of the World operations raised investor concerns about the cost in jobs, reputation, market position and enterprise value. It was an inadequate oversight and maintenance of corporate culture within the company," said Tanner.
This afternoon, James Murdoch will face the committee once again. The Labour MP Tom Watson, who also flew to LA to attend the meeting to meet distressed shareholders, will lead questions on how much Murdoch Jr knew about the phone hacking.
Tanner hopes the investigation will go even further.
"We believe that the board should launch a truly independent investigation into the failures of company culture that enabled these ethical lapses," she says. "The newly created Management and Standards Committee must be strengthened so that it is led by an organisation or person who can look objectively at News Corp's ethical failures and that has the authority to take the bold actions needed to remedy them. "