Tuesday 28 January 2020

Dust finally settles as two appointed to UTV board

Peter Flanagan

MEDIA group UTV has appointed two new directors to its board, finally laying to rest a bust-up that saw three board members quit earlier this year.

In a statement yesterday, the company, which controls Q102 and FM104 in Dublin as well as running the ITV broadcasting licence in the North, said Andy Anson and Coline McConville had joined the board as non-executive directors.

The two appointments bring the board back to the minimum number recommended under corporate governance best practice and would appear to draw a line under a row that had dominated UTV for much of the year.

In February, company chairman John McGuckian was forced out by a group of directors including chief executive John McCann.

Mr McGuckian immediately resigned as a non-executive director, and was followed by fellow non-execs Shane Reihill and Kevin Lagan.

The moves left UTV with far too few independent non-executive directors, and interim chairman Helen Kirkpatrick said at the time she hoped to name replacements by the end of May.

While that deadline was missed, the firm hired Richard Huntingford as chairman in July while Stephen Kirkpatrick joined as non-exec in September.

Of the two new appointees, Mr Anson has worked across sport and media and was a board member of Manchester United as well the head of the European head of the mens' tennis body, ATP.

Ms McKinsey led the European arm of advertising firm Clear Channel International. Both take up their positions immediately.

The appointments came as the UK authorities renewed UTV's broadcasting licence for ITV until 2024. Mr McCann said the announcement provided "clarity" for the group.

"It recognises the major role UTV plays in Northern Ireland life both as a broadcaster reflecting what's happening and as a business providing employment for staff, contractors and the creative industries," he said.

UTV rose 1.3pc in London to 117.5 pence.

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