Business Irish

Thursday 14 December 2017

Ivan Yates wades into One51 boardroom row

Laura Noonan

Laura Noonan

ONE51 independent director Ivan Yates has waded into the investment group's boardroom showdown, penning a detailed letter outlining his "personal" views on the issues highlighted by a rebel shareholder group.

The breakaway shareholder group, led by investor Gerry Killen, is demanding sweeping changes in the way One51 is run and sent a letter to all 14 of the group's directors on July 15 in a bid to enlist their support ahead of Wednesday's AGM.

Mr Killen last night confirmed that Newstalk broadcaster Mr Yates, one of the most recent appointees to the One51 board, was the only director to have replied.

In the letter, seen by the Irish Independent, Mr Yates appears to shoot down the rebels' call for One51 to offload non-core assets, including breadmaker Irish Pride and a stake in shipping group ICG.

"Both ICG and Irish Pride are top-class enterprises which can yield long-term profits," Mr Yates wrote

Mr Killen last night said Mr Yates "appeared to have misunderstood" his group's proposals. "We're not trying to dispose of everything on Friday, what we're looking for is an orderly disposal," he said, suggesting a timeframe of "three to six months".

Downturn

Mr Yates also defended One51's under-fire investment record, saying that while "it is clear in retrospect that premium prices may have been paid", the group's experience was "not dissimilar to other investors" in an "unprecedented global economic downturn".

Mr Killen also stressed that Mr Yates's letter had admitted the rebels' campaign had drawn attention to matters not previously known to the broadcaster.

"While there are differences of opinion [between myself and Mr Yates] I think the letter is helpful, in that he's recognising there's room for improvement."

Irish Independent

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