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Merrion Capital beefs up board with four outsiders

MERRION Capital's John Conroy has added a trio of Americans and an Englishman to the Dublin stockbroker's board including New Yorker Paul Gould who will serve as Merrion's new chairman.

The former convertible bond trader is also head of Merrion shareholder Allen & Co and has worked for the New York-based brokerage since 1972.

The animal-loving Gould also serves as a director for Liberty Media Group which owns cable television company UPC as well as the Discovery Holding Company and Ampco-Pittsburgh Corporation.

He also serves on the board of trustees for Cornell University where he has a special interest in the veterinary college as well as the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Merrion also named Allen director and NTMA adviser Walter O'Hara as a non-executive director as well as UK investment broker Kevin Gallagher.

Rounding off Merrion's beefed-up board is former Iona executive Kevin Melia who helped save the Dublin-based and Nasdaq-listed technology company along with Chris Horn back in 2003 after the company ran into problems.

Mr Melia is also the founder of New York-quoted Manufacturers Services and is a former chief financial officer of Sun Microsystems.

Ringing the changes

HATS off to Mark Wilson, who has taken on one of the great challenges in Irish business today.

Mr Wilson is Eircom's new interim chief financial officer as the company recently downgraded by Moody's looks around for a successor to Peter Cross, who quit last month after three-and-a-half years in the job.

Wilson probably has better experience than most.

He served as finance chief of UK water giant Severn Trent but left in December 2005 after an overcharging scandal which saw the company prosecuted after admitting liability.

Mr Wilson has always denied knowledge of any wrongdoing.

He later emerged as an executive with the troubled Sea Containers group, which was saved from bankruptcy in the US following a series of complex manoeuvres.

No wonder Eircom chief executive Paul Donovan welcomed Wilson's appointment.

He noted that he was well- used to "operating in challenging environments where knowledge of large-scale capital intensive regulated businesses and the management of the balance sheet are both critical for success."

Irish Independent