Leading Irish business businessman Denis O’Brien, the largest shareholder in Dublin-based Independent News and Media, has warned that said that the company which publishes the Irish Independent is in an “extremely chronic financial situation.”
The warning came against the backdrop of the resignation of INM company chairman, Brian Hillery.
O’Brien, according to a report in the Irish Examiner, said that INM must appoint a new chairman who will have the “ability, determination and independence” to restore shareholder value as a matter of urgency.
O’Brien said that the erosion of shareholder value during Mr. Hillery’s tenure has been in excess of €2 billion. During the company’s recent annual general meeting, shareholders voted out a non-executive director representing O’Brien, Leslie Buckley.
O’Brien described statements attributed to board members, including the outgoing chairman and chief executive (Gavin O’Reilly) at the AGM as being “delusional.”
A spokesman for INM said he couldn’t comment beyond saying the company board was undergoing a “process of renewal.”
Denis O’Brien controls around 22 percent of INM’s shares while 13 percent is held by the family of Tony O’Reilly, who ran the company from 1973 until 2009, when he was replaced by his son Gavin.