Wednesday 17 January 2018

High-powered business people lined up for CRC board

Former CRC chief executive Paul Kiely
Former CRC chief executive Paul Kiely
Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

A GROUP of high-powered business people is being proposed to replace the outgoing directors of the Central Remedial Clinic who resigned en masse following disclosures that the organisation used charitable funds to top up executive salaries and pensions.

The six men and women include a solicitor, human resource directors and IT experts. They were selected by the Health Service Executive (HSE), which approached them to form a new board.

The move is part of a radical shake-up of the CRC which is under way since the HSE took over the day-to-day running of the charity in December. The previous board of 10 resigned en masse following revelations that publicly donated funds were channelled into the salaries and pension pots of senior executives, including the CRC's former chief executive, Paul Kiely.

The new directors are understood to include Cormac Brennan, a solicitor with McConnell Brennan who advises charitable organisations; Sean Hickey, head of IT at Boots Contract Manufacturing in the UK; Grainne McAleese, vice president at Elan pharmaceuticals; Suzanne McDonald, a director of IT and change management at the Irish Medicines Board; and Tom Quinn, retired group secretary at RTE. The sixth person approached is understood to be the chief executive of an IT firm.

The candidates' names and CVs were circulated to the previous directors in recent weeks by the HSE's John Cregan, who took over the running of the CRC after the board and its chief executive stood down. The proposed new directors must be nominated by the outgoing board in order to be legally appointed.

The proposed directors were identified through Boardmatch Ireland, a service that matches volunteer directors with not-for-profit organisations and charities looking for board members.

In a statement, the HSE said the new Board of Governors is being appointed by the CRC in accordance with the company's Articles of Association and company law.

It said: "The Articles of Association and relevant sections of the Companies Acts provide for the passing of resolutions by the members of a company. Such resolutions form an element of the appointment process of a new Board of Governors at the CRC. However, it should not be assumed that any person named in a resolution will accept or take up an appointment.

"It would therefore be unwise and extremely unfair to publish details of any person named in a resolution. Neither the HSE nor the CRC is in a position to confirm that any of the persons named by you will accept or take up an appointment as a governor of the CRC. Again, neither the HSE nor the CRC can predict the reaction of any person named, in the event of their name or personal details being published."

Meanwhile, the new CEO is being recruited through the Public Appointments Service (PAS) and the appointment will be made by the CRC Board of Governors. The position was publicly advertised in February and the selection process has begun.

John Cregan is due to complete an audit of the charity by the end of the month. His report will be forwarded to HSE boss Tony O'Brien, and he is also likely to present his findings to the Dail's Public Accounts Committee.

The committee had been investigating salary scales in the charity sector last year, and had focused in on the €240,000 salary paid to the former chief executive, Paul Kiely – €106,000 of which was funded by the State and the rest a €135,000 top-up.

Under relentless questioning at a PAC hearing late last year, Paul Kiely said he had retired on a pension of around €98,000 and a lump sum of €200,000, while James Nugent, the chairman of the CRC, admitted that charitable funds were used to top up pensions and salaries.

But it later emerged that Kiely had retired on a total pension package of €742,025, funded by €700,000 paid in by Friends and Supporters of the CRC, a separate company that distributes funds donated by the public for the CRC.

The previous board was also criticised at the PAC hearing over perceptions that it was too close to Fianna Fail and several directors had been active in the party.

Sunday Independent

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