Wednesday 26 June 2019

Senior INM executive to leave the company

Independent House, Talbot Street, Dublin
Independent House, Talbot Street, Dublin
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The chief financial officer of Independent News & Media (INM), Ryan Preston, is to leave the company.

Mr Preston was one of two senior INM executives whose protected disclosures prompted a major investigation into various matters at the company by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE).

In a notification to the Stock Exchange, INM announced Mr Preston was to leave the company by mutual consent at the end of January 2019.

“INM is currently engaged in a process to appoint a successor to Mr Preston and this appointment will be announced in due course,” it said.

INM chief executive Michael Doorly said: “On behalf of the board of INM and the company I would like to thank Ryan for his contribution to the company over the last four years. We wish him every success in his future career.”

Independent.ie understands Mr Preston had been engaged in talks with the company about his future for some time.

He made a protected disclosure to INM in 2016.

This backed up an earlier protected disclosure by then INM chief executive Robert Pitt.

Claims made by both executives would end up being investigated by the ODCE.

This ultimately resulted in the appointment of High Court inspectors to the company last September.

Mr Preston and Mr Pitt alleged they came under pressure from then INM chairman Leslie Buckley to pay an inflated price for Newstalk, the radio station owned by INM’s largest shareholder Denis O’Brien.

The deal never went ahead and Mr Buckley denies any wrongdoing.

Mr Pitt departed INM in October last year with a €1.5m exit package.

It emerged this week that the company’s legal costs associated with the ODCE investigation were €2.5m.

An investigation by the inspectors into the Newstalk issue and other matters, including a major suspected data interrogation in 2014, is ongoing.

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