Eircom rings board changes with Somers among new directors
Corporate restructuring specialist Bernard Somers and a former chief financial officer at Bank of Ireland are among a slate of new directors who have been appointed to the board and units of troubled telco Eircom.
The telecoms company -- which is labouring under more than €3bn in debt -- made the appointments as it attempts to restructure that debt burden with lenders.
One lending group had imposed a deadline on Eircom to make the new appointments -- six in all -- and had privately accused the telco of foot-dragging on the issue.
The non-executive directors who've been appointed include accountant and corporate restructuring specialist Mr Somers, who was a non-executive at AIB until 2008. He is currently a non-executive director of distribution group DCC and ferry firm Irish Continental.
Nick Hartery, a non-executive director at CRH, is also a new Eircom director. A former executive with Dell and Kodak, he is also a board member of Cork-based retail group Musgrave.
He was also previously a non-executive director at Eircom, from March 2009 to January 2010 after he was appointed by former Eircom owner Babcock & Brown Capital, which sold the business to current joint owner Singapore Technologies Telemedia.
Both Mr Somers and Mr Hartery have been appointed to the main Eircom board, as well as holding companies attached to the group.
Another insolvency expert, Ray Jackson, has also been appointed to one of those holding companies.
He was a partner at KPMG for 29 years and worked on a number of high-profile receiverships and liquidations such as IPSAT steel in Cork and travel firm USIT.
He has also been recently involved in sorting out the mess related to some Superquinn properties that were owned by investors.
Other appointments to Eircom's ERC Ireland Finance unit include Paul D'Alton, who was chief financial officer at Bank of Ireland from 1991 to 2001.
He is also a director of the Takeover Panel, ICS Building Society and a founder of financial advisory firm Leeson Street Capital.
Andrew MacCallum and Bob Rajan have also been appointed to the board of ERC Preferred Equity and ERC Ireland Finance respectively.
Mr MacCallum is a managing director with Alvarez & Marshal in London, while Mr Rajan is a senior director at the same advisory firm.
Eircom hired Alvarez & Marshal earlier this year to advise it on its debt restructuring. The firm was put in charge of Lehman Brothers after it collapsed in 2008.
When lenders agreed recently to waiving conditions on a chunk of Eircom's debt for three months to give it breathing room to resolve its debt problems, they demanded the new appointments.
Eircom chairman Ned Sullivan said the new appointments would be a valuable resource as the company progresses through its "balance sheet remediation".