Updated from 5:14 p.m. EDT
Rupert Murdoch bristled at the notion that adding Natalie Bancroft, a 27-year-old opera singer living in Europe, to News Corp.'s (NWS - Get Report) board was a disservice to the media empire's shareholders.
"That's rubbish," said Murdoch on a conference call with analysts following the company's first-quarter earnings release after Wednesday's closing bell. "The experts said Google's (GOOG - Get Report) structure would be bad for shareholders."
Bancroft is News Corp.'s pick from her family, the controlling shareholders of Dow Jones (DJ), to join the media conglomerate's board as part of its agreement to buy the Wall Street Journal publisher.Having bickered over finding a choice of their own beyond their deadline, the Bancroft family ceded their opportunity to choose their representative themselves. "They're a funny family," said Murdoch. In the long and convoluted process leading up to an agreement between News Corp. and Dow Jones, the opportunity for the Bancrofts to appoint a family representative to sit on News Corp.'s board was one way to ease the pain of selling the company. The representative was viewed as someone who could stand up for the protection of Dow Jones' storied media properties and their longstanding traditions in journalism. According to The Journal, Natalie Bancroft is, "by her own admission, is a relative neophyte to the worlds of both journalism and commerce." She's reportedly a Formula One car-racing fan who studied music at a private conservatory in Lausanne and has never been an active player in her family's stewardship of Dow Jones.