Shareholder seeks to oust Conroy Gold chairman and founder

New general meeting called after gathering ends in row over appointment of directors

Dissident shareholder Patrick O’Sullivan shareholder at Conroy Gold at the company’s  egm on Friday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Dissident shareholder Patrick O’Sullivan shareholder at Conroy Gold at the company’s egm on Friday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Dissident Conroy Gold shareholder Patrick O’Sullivan plans to seek the removal of the company’s founder and executive chairman, Prof Richard Conroy, at a second extraordinary general meeting (egm) of the company.

Shareholders voted to sack six of Conroy Gold’s nine directors at a meeting on Friday, leaving just Prof Conroy, managing director Maureen Jones and non-executive Prof Gareth Earls on the board.

But Prof Conroy ruled against motions to elect three directors nominated by Mr O’Sullivan at the meeting.

The exploration company confirmed on Monday that Mr O’Sullivan’s lawyer had told it that he would now be seeking a further extraordinary meeting of shareholders “at which resolutions would be proposed to remove the remaining directors”.

Conroy Gold and Natural Resources is best known for it plans to develop gold deposits that it has found near Clontibret in Co Monaghan and Slieve Glah in Co Cavan. It also has interests in Finland.

At last week’s meeting, convened at the behest of Mr O’Sullivan, the company declared that proposals to appoint Mr O’Sullivan, Gervaise Heddle and Paul Johnson to the board were of no effect, following advice from its lawyers.

Sources said afterwards that the resolutions were not passed because of a clause in the company’s constitution requiring advance notice.

However, Mr O’Sullivan’s lawyer, Bernard McEvoy, argued that the resolutions had been put to a poll, and that it was not then open to the chairman to decide that they were invalid.

Challenge decision

Conroy’s statement on Monday also said Mr O’Sullivan intended to challenge the decision that the resolutions did not comply with the company’s constitution. He and his advisers had already signalled that they intended getting the resolutions upheld.

The directors removed last week were Michael Power, David Wathen, Louis Maguire, Sorca Conroy, Seamus FitzPatrick and James Jones.

Mr O’Sullivan is Conroy’s biggest single shareholder, with 28 per cent of the company, having initially invested in 2009. He is understood to be meeting his advisers this week to decide on their strategy. It also open to him to challenge the meeting’s outcome in the High Court.

Last week’s egm followed an earlier High Court action where Mr O’Sullivan raised concerns about corporate governance and directors’ pay. Speaking after the meeting, he said he believed the current board was not in a position to advance the company’s best interests.

“My patience has been tried,” he said, but he added that he took this action as “an absolute last resort”.

He wants the company to appoint experts in gold exploration so it can raise the cash needed to explore one of its prospects.

“Fundamentally, I do believe in the company and I believe in the resource,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

Shareholders at Friday’s meeting also argued that the board would need help if it wanted to raise money to explore its current prospects.

Conroy’s shares were unchanged at 31 cent at around lunchtime on Monday. Prof Conroy founded the company in 1995 to exploit the deposits found in Ireland.