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What India could learn from James Murdoch’s resignation

“News Corporation today announced that, following his relocation to the Company’s headquarters in New York, James Murdoch, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, has relinquished his position as Executive Chairman of News International, its UK publishing unit,” says an official statement from News Corporation.

“We are all grateful for James' leadership at News International and across Europe and Asia, where he has made lasting contributions to the group's strategy in paid digital content and its efforts to improve and enhance governance programs,” said Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, News Corporation, the statement continued.

James Murdoch

James Murdoch relinquished his position as Executive Chairman of News International. Getty Images

If India’s cricket selector Krishnamachari Srikkanth were involved, he would probably have said that James Murdoch was being ‘rested’. If Sehwag being ‘rested’ is a euphemism for his being dropped for his poor performance, so is James Murdoch’s ‘relinquishing his position’ ‘following his relocation’. James Murdoch has been sacked; this is the nearest to an admission of culpability in the way James Murdoch ran News International’s print businesses, resulting in the closure of News of the World and the adverse image of News Corporation since Hackgate broke.

The decision regarding James Murdoch is not the end of the problems for Rupert Murdoch. “As News Corporation's UK crisis deepens and James Murdoch resigns from News Corporation's British arm shareholders in the US are escalating their bid for an overhaul of the board. They're concerned that it doesn't have enough independent voices and will call at the company's annual general meeting in October for improved corporate governance practices,” reports ABC. The demand for the overhaul is despite, based on the ownership, this being a tough battle for Murdoch’s critics.

What we are witnessing in the NewsCorp crisis is the demand for accountability of leadership in companies.

And perhaps we, in India, should take a cue from the goings-on in News Corporation. Is it time for shareholders in poorly run companies in India, especially institutional shareholders, to make their displeasure known — and force changes in management?