Monday 20 November 2017

Jerome Kennedy will not put himself forward for re-election as a director of INM

Independent House, Talbot Street, Dublin
Independent House, Talbot Street, Dublin
Dearbhail McDonald

Dearbhail McDonald

FORMER KPMG managing partner Jerome Kennedy will not put himself forward for re-election as a director of Independent News & Media (INM) at the company’s forthcoming AGM.

Kennedy (69) is currently INM’s senior independent director. He was the director to whom INM chief executive Robert Pitt made a complaint after an issue arose between Mr Pitt and INM chairman Leslie Buckley over the potential acquisition of Newstalk.

This morning INM announced that Mr Kennedy has informed the Board that he will not be seeking re-election and will retire as a director at the conclusion of the company’s AGM, to be held on 23 August 2017.

"The Board would like to express its sincere gratitude to Jerome for his immeasurable contribution to the Company over the last five years, a period in which INM was restored to a position of financial stability," said INM’s Chairman, Leslie Buckley in a statement issued by the company.

"His experience and guidance were invaluable during this challenging period for the business."

The move represents a further shake-up of the INM board after two current non-executive directors, Triona Mullane and Allan Marshall, were deemed to be non-independent after a review by Deloitte.

INM group chief executive Robert Pitt Picture: Frank McGrath
INM group chief executive Robert Pitt Picture: Frank McGrath

Ms Mullane and Mr Marshall had previously been classified as independent.

Late last year Mr Pitt made a complaint under new whistleblowing legislation to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), prompting the company law watchdog to seek records in relation to the possible acquisition by INM of radio station Newstalk.

The complaint - made under the Protected Disclosure Act 2014 - was made around the time INM issued a statement to the stock exchange confirming that an "issue" had arisen between Mr Pitt and INM chairman Leslie Buckley over the proposed acquisition of Newstalk.

Businessman Denis O'Brien is the largest single shareholder in INM - which publishes newspapers including the Irish Independent and this website - and is the owner of the Communicorp Group, whose assets include Newstalk.

In a statement, issued on November 28, 2016, INM confirmed that an issue arose between its chief executive and chairman in relation to the terms of a possible acquisition by the company.

In December 2016 - before being contacted by the ODCE - a formal independent review to examine and inquire into matters concerning the possible acquisition of Newstalk and related matters was also commissioned by INM.

INM is the largest newspaper contract printer, online news publisher and wholesale newspaper distributor on the island of Ireland. It manages gross assets of €218.6m and employs approximately 800 people.

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