Saturday 16 December 2017

New Ireland sends Bowler clear signal

Jumbo pensions funds and Irish institutional investors have been patient and supportive of boards of some of our underperforming listed companies. Things may be changing.

New Ireland has taken something of a stand against Irish Life & Permanent (ILP) chairman Gillian Bowler.

Voting records for the giant fund show it opposed Bowler's re-election as a director of the company at the AGM in May.

It backed the re-election of all nine of the other directors at ILP. This is almost unprecedented in Irish corporate life as big pension funds and institutional shareholders have traditionally backed management proposals.

There are a few exceptions, with New Ireland abstaining on votes to re-elect four Glanbia directors and opposing the appointment of Philip Lynch, Michael Berkery and two others to the board of FBD, as well as flashing red over John McGuckian at ICG and Joe Moran and John Lawrie at IFG.

What is completely unprecedented is that New Ireland opposed Bowler not once but twice.

It also voted against her re-appointment as a director of Michael Chadwick's Grafton Group in May. New Ireland supported the re-election to the board of the other five directors. Getting rejected once is bad enough. But twice sends a clear signal.

Sunday Independent

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