* Drugmaker says Murdoch has made strong contribution
* Investigations need to run their course
* News Corp executive also sits on Sotheby's board
By Ben Hirschler
LONDON, July 15 GlaxoSmithKline ,
Britain's biggest drugmaker, said James Murdoch continued to
serve as a non-executive director, and it would watch
investigations into the phone-hacking scandal engulfing his
family's newspaper business.
The 38-year-old heir apparent to his father Rupert Mordoch's
News Corp joined GSK's board in 2009, since when he has
made "a strong contribution", a GSK spokesman said on Friday.
In recent days, James Murdoch's reputation has taken a
pummelling, with critics saying he was too slow to realise the
enormity of the scandal at News International, the British
newspaper unit he chairs.
GSK -- a group with plenty of experience of corporate
controversy, ranging from rows over executive pay to safety
alarms about some of its medicines -- will watch developments
closely and is not rushing to any judgments.
"With regard to the activities that are alleged to have
taken place at News International, we believe that the full
facts must be established and the ongoing investigations be
allowed to take place and come to a considered conclusion," the
James Murdoch was paid 98,000 pounds ($158,000) in shares
for serving on GSK's board in 2010. He is member of both the
drugmaker's corporate responsibility and remuneration
He is also a non-executive director of U.S.-listed auction
house Sotheby's .
The News International chairman said on Friday his company
would take out adverts in rival British newspapers this weekend
to apologise to the nation for wrongdoing at the News of the
World, the Sunday paper at the centre of the scandal.
($1 = 0.620 pound)
(Editing by Dan Lalor)