Wednesday 17 July 2019

New governance rules shine spotlight on Irish PLC chairs

Ryanair chairman David Bonderman is set to be replaced. Photo: Andrew Harrer
Ryanair chairman David Bonderman is set to be replaced. Photo: Andrew Harrer
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

The chairmen of some of Ireland's biggest listed companies are likely to face increasing scrutiny of their position after an overhaul of corporate governance rules.

A refreshed UK Corporate Governance Code has a new provision that says chairmen shouldn't stay in the role beyond nine years from their appointment to the company board.

The UK code has for many years been the standard that the Irish Stock Exchange asks Irish-listed firms to abide by. CRH, Kingspan and Irish Continental Group (ICG) state in their most recent annual reports that they abide by the principles of the previous UK Corporate Governance code. Their chairmen - Nicky Hartery, Eugene Murtagh and John McGuckian - have each been in the post for longer than nine years since their board appointment.

Under the new code, companies are required to provide "clear and meaningful explanations" to shareholders if they deviate from the code's principles.

Kingspan and ICG declined to comment on how they would address the matter.

CRH said in its last annual report that Mr Hartery had agreed to extend his term while the company tries to find a successor. Ryanair, which said in its annual report that it abided by the previous UK Corporate Governance Code, is set to replace its chairman David Bonderman (a board member since the mid-90s) with ex-Kerry Group boss Stan McCarthy.

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