§ Mr. Norman Atkinson
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will name the independent directors appointed by himself to The Observer newspaper; and to whom they are accountable.
§ Mr. Fletcher
The independent directors are Sir William Clark, Sir Geoffrey Cox, Dame Rosemary Murray, Lord Windlesham, and Sir Derek Mitchell.
The appointment of the first four named was agreed prior to the transfer of The Observer from Atlantic 26W Richfield Company to George Outram & Company Ltd. by the paper's new owners, management and editorial staff. This agreement was given effect by the conditions attached to the Secretary of State's consent to the transfer. In accordance with those conditions, the fifth independent director was chosen by the initial four.
The independent directors are answerable to shareholders in the normal way, but no independent director can be removed from office without the approval of the majority of the independent directors.