Ex-Independent Newspapers MD Hayes 'an innovator and inspiration'
Tributes have been paid to former Independent Newspapers Managing Director Joe Hayes, who has passed away after a short illness.
He was an innovator whose marketing ideas led to the growth of the company's national and regional titles, and he was also chair of the Irish Daily Star.
He joined the company from the tobacco firm Gallahers, where he was hugely successful.
Originally from Ballyduff, outside Tralee, he studied dentistry but later said he "couldn't stand the sight of blood". Instead, he joined Gallahers as a sales rep in 1967. By 1973 he was managing director. He was persuaded to join Independent Newspapers, now Independent News and Media, by Tony O'Reilly in 1979 after they met at a corporate function.
Mr Hayes was a great believer in marketing the content of the titles to readers. He also developed the Independent's interests in MMDS cable television.
Leaving the company in November 1993, he said he had a business opportunity abroad which he couldn't refuse. He moved to Austria and later the Isle of Wight, before returning to Ireland, where he became a successful tillage farmer.
Former chief executive of INM Vincent Crowley said Mr Hayes had been an inspiration.
"I had a great admiration for Joe," he said. "He was a real action man, who approached everything in an innovative manner. He was all for creating change at an interesting time for newspapers and he had a certain genius about doing it. He was very inspiring."
Former advertising executive Brendan McCabe described his "extraordinary energy".
"He was the first in the industry to bring editorial, circulation and advertising together into the same room and got everyone working together.
"He was an extraordinary man with an extraordinary vision. His energy was infectious.
"He could do almost anything he turned his hand to, and he did it to perfection."
Robert Pitt, chief executive at INM, said Mr Hayes had been key to cementing Independent Newspapers' pre-eminent position in the Irish market.
Mr Pitt said: "I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of Joe Hayes and pass on my condolences to his family.
"Although I never got to meet Joe, I knew him by his reputation. Joe was an innovator and recognised the importance of marketing and market research for newspapers. He had an intuitive knowledge of what the readers wanted and delivered this with intelligent marketing and promotion to complement the editorial style of each title."
Mr Hayes was 69 and had fought pancreatic cancer for the past eight months. He lived in Rathmore, Co Kildare, but farmed in Rathcoffey.
He is survived by his grieving wife Collette, children Colin, Danielle, Amber, Thady and Georgina, and his nine grandchildren. His son Thady said: "He was the most incredible man who was loved and cherished by all who knew him. We'll never be the same without him."
Funeral Mass is this Thursday at Cross Chapel, Blessington, at 10am, followed by a private cremation ceremony.