Wednesday 16 October 2019

Senior INM executive who made disclosure to leave by mutual consent

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 by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE).

In a notice to the Irish Stock Exchange, INM - which publishes the Irish Independent - said Mr Preston, who joined the company in 2014, will leave by mutual consent at the end of next month.

"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."

The Irish Independent understands Mr Preston had been 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 CEO Robert Pitt.

Claims made by both executives would end up being investigated by the ODCE, ultimately resulting in the appointment of High Court inspectors to the company.

Mr Preston and Mr Pitt alleged they came under pressure from then INM chairman Leslie Buckley to pay an inflated price for Newstalk - a 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.

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