Monday 20 November 2017

Irish Times appoints accountant to top job

Thomas Molloy and Laura Noonan

THE 'Irish Times' has promoted deputy managing director Liam Kavanagh to run the newspaper.

The appointment, which was announced yesterday, puts the trained accountant in charge of finding ways to revive flagging circulation and return the group to profit following several expensive investments over the past decade which have led to large losses.

Mr Kavanagh, a former finance director at paper maker Smurfit Ireland, joined the 'Irish Times' in 2000 and became financial director a year later.

He replaces Maeve Donovan as managing director. Ms Donovan resigned from her €399,000 post last month following eight years in the job. The appointment was not unexpected, as the newspaper said at the time that it would appoint an insider to replace Ms Donovan. Mr Kavanagh takes up the reins weeks after Audit Bureau of Circulation figures revealed that sales of the 'Irish Times' fell by 7.4pc in the second half of last year, compared to the same period the previous year.

That was the biggest fall of any daily morning paper and left the paper's circulation at 106,926. "The market remains very difficult, we'll have to see where we go," Mr Kavanagh told the Irish Independent last night. "We'll have to take stock of where we are."

Mr Kavanagh worked closely with Ms Donovan over the past decade as the 'Irish Times' invested in ventures such as the website, a shareholding in 4FM and 'Gloss magazine'. These investments were partly to blame for the company's after-tax loss of €37.8m in 2008, the most recent year for which results are available, and led journalists at the paper to "urgently review the flawed investment and diversification strategy".

The paper wrote down the value of investments by €28m that year.

Irish Independent

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