Business Irish

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Sullivan to step down from role as Eircom chairman

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

NED Sullivan is stepping down from his position as chairman of Eircom this year after a tumultuous four years, which saw the company go through the biggest bankruptcy in the history of the State.

Mr Sullivan, who is no stranger to troubled companies, said he would leave Eircom at the end of the year for "personal reasons". He did not elaborate but said he was no longer able to give the required commitment to the role.

"The role of chairman requires an ongoing time commitment, which I am no longer in a position to make," Mr Sullivan said yesterday. "It has been a great privilege to lead the board through the many challenges and changes which have faced the company."

The UCD graduate's retirement caps a rocky decade for Mr Sullivan, which included a number of other high-profile failures through his position on the board of Anglo Irish Bank (where he was head of its risk committee) and home-building company McInerney Holdings, which saw its Irish operations go into receivership last year after the High Court rejected a rescue plan drawn up after examinership.

Mr Sullivan cut his teeth in the drinks industry and was involved with early successes such as Baileys.

He later became chief executive of Glanbia, although the company struggled as he expanded into pizza cheeses and pig meat. He later became the chairman of sugar company Greencore as well as becoming first chairman of semi-state company Bord Bia.


Eircom chief Herb Hribar, who was appointed in August, thanked Mr Sullivan for his "significant contribution" to the company, particularly through the recent examinership process.

"On a more personal note, I would like to express my sincere appreciation and thanks to Ned for the help and support he has given me over the last couple of months since I have taken on the CEO role," Mr Hribar said.

His tenure as non-executive director at Anglo Irish Bank ended when he and a number of other directors stepped down after the then Fianna Fail/Green Party government nationalised the scandal-hit lender in January 2009.

He joined Noel Harwerth, Anne Heraty, Michael Jacob and Gary McGann in notifying the then bank chairman of their decision to stand aside.

Eircom emerged from the biggest bankruptcy in the history of the State in June with shareholders stripped of their ownership and 40pc of its debts wiped out.

A 200-strong lender group led by US investment giant Blackstone took ownership of the company, ending a two-year process of talks with lenders and a formal exit from examinership.

Ned Sullivan will leave his position in Eircom at the end of this year after a long career in the corporate world as a director

Irish Independent

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