Saturday 20 January 2018

UTV's new chairman plans two board posts

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

NEW UTV chairman Richard Huntingford plans to appoint two more directors to the company's board "as soon as is practicable" as the media group looks to move on from the row which saw three board members leave earlier this year.

Mr Huntingford was appointed yesterday and replaces long-time chairman John McGuckian, who resigned from the board in February after being voted out of the chairman's role. Kevin Lagan and Shane Reihill also resigned from the board that day and have yet to be replaced.

Bringing in the new chair marks the latest change for the group, which controls several radio stations, including Q102 and FM104 in Dublin, as well as the ITV television franchise in the North.

Speaking to the Irish Independent yesterday, however, Mr Huntingford said he was looking to move on from the dispute.

"It is one of the things I will be looking to do as soon as is practicable once I have established myself in the role.

"As non-executive chairman I'm tasked with managing the board and part of that will be appointing two new directors and dealing with the corporate governance issues related to that," he added.

Mr Huntingford hass yet to meet Mr Reihill, whose private equity firm, TVC, is UTV's single biggest shareholder. He does, however, plan to speak with him as soon as possible.

Mr Huntingford spent seven years as chief executive of UK media group Chrysalis until its radio division was sold to Global Radio in 2007. He later became executive chairman of Virgin Radio, which was later sold to the Times of India Group.

Since the boardroom coup, UTV has been the subject of repeated speculation about its future. It is reportedly in talks to buy Guardian Media Group's radio network, while it has also been highlighted as a possible takeover target.

Interim chairman Helen Kirkpatrick will return to her position as a non-executive director, while the new chairman fully endorsed chief executive John McCann's position at the head of the company.

In London, UTV shares climbed 1.5pc to 136.5 pence. They have climbed 13pc in the last year.

Irish Independent

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