Rupert and James Murdoch

October 14, 2011 | 7:43 pm

The nation’s largest public pension fund said it would vote against the reelection of media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his sons, James and Lachlan, to News Corp.’s board of directors.

The California Public Employees Retirement System, or CalPERS, said in a statement Friday that the media giant’s shareholders would benefit from greater board independence because of the dual class voting structure of the company. Murdoch controls about 40% of News Corp.’s voting shares.

The CalPERS announcement comes as an influential advisory firm, Institutional Shareholder Services, this week advised voting against the reelection of 13 of the company’s 15 directors, saying the British phone hacking scandal, and subsequent closing of the News of the World tabloid, reflects a failure of board “stewardship.”

Hermes Equity Ownership Services, another advisory service affiliated with Britain’s largest pension fund, joined in calling on investors Friday to vote against the reelection of any Murdoch family member to the board at next week’s annual shareholders’ meeting.

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