James Murdoch managed to cling on to his job as Executive Chairman of British pay-TV giant BSkyB overnight. But not before taking several big hits at an angry AGM.
Around a third of the group's independent shareholders voted for his removal from the board (44% if you include abstentions), and several speakers attacked his performance.
Worse still, Chris Bryant MP, the former priest who has led the campaign against phone hacking, accused News of hacking into the phone of a British cabinet minister, Tessa Jowell, to gain business advantage.
As culture secretary at the time, Jowell was in charge of a number of key policy areas (like cross-media laws and sporting rights) which impacted directly on BSkyB's business.
"And that's why I think one thing that is particularly worrying is that the second-most-hacked person was the Secretary of State for Culture, whose phone was hacked for months and months and months and months," said Bryant.
"My contention is that [hacking went on] not just to get a story for News Corporation but to advance the commercial interests of BSkyB, because it was an act of intimidation and harassment of someone that might be making decisions."
Bryant said he believed that members of BSkyB's board had access to some of the information obtained by hacking.
If this were proved to be true, James Murdoch would clearly be implicated.
Outside the meeting, the MP refused to say whether he had any evidence to back up these claims, but then launched into another attack, telling the media: "When it all comes out and people are sent to jail for perverting the course of justice or being charged over destroying evidence, it will be impossible for James Murdoch to survive".
Inside the meeting, Murdoch vehemently denied the charges, saying, "I just don't see anything to them", and BSkyB director Andrew Higginson said there was "absolutely no evidence" of hacking at Sky.
But Bryant was not the only critic. Michael Crick, who once organised shareholders of Manchester United to resist a Murdoch takeover bid (and is now Channel 4's political editor) suggested James Murdoch was not suitable to run the company. "Many feel you misled the select committee," said Crick. "If you didn't mislead, doesn't your performance show a complete failure on your part to find out what was going on, a failure to show any curiosity, a failure to ask the right questions?"
Despite the embarrassing revolt—which included big insurers like Standard Life and Legal & General—the BSkyB board was unanimous in supporting its chairman.
Deputy chair Nick Ferguson told the agm, "James Murdoch is a highly competent man. Over the last eight years we ... and the management of Sky have seen him exhibit only the very highest standards of integrity."