Eir selects Ladbrokes Coral executive as new chairman

Carl Leaver will replace Pádraig McManus as Eir gears up for flotation

Carl Leaver, who has also held senior roles at Marks & Spencer and DeVere, will become Eir’s next chairman. Photograph: Mike Ellis

Carl Leaver, who has also held senior roles at Marks & Spencer and DeVere, will become Eir’s next chairman. Photograph: Mike Ellis

 

The stock-market bound telco group Eir has selected British gambling company executive, Carl Leaver, as its next chairman.

Mr Leaver, currently the deputy chairman of listed group Ladbrokes Coral, will replace outgoing Eir chairman, the former ESB chief Pádraig McManus, in September.

Mr Leaver, who was previously a senior executive at Marks & Spencer, will steer Eir’s board through a critical phase as it limbers up for an expected return to the stock market, possibly next year.

At the age of 49, Mr Leaver would be among the youngest chairmen of an Irish-listed company if Eir succeeds in getting an estimated €3.5 billion flotation away over the coming year.

Prior to his M&S role, he was chief executive at listed financial group DeVere and also worked for Whitbread and Forte Group.

He was chief executive of Gala Coral for six years prior to its merger last November with Ladbrokes, a deal that earned him £15 million (€17 million) in shares in the merged business. He agreed to join its merged board as deputy chairman for a period of a year from the merger.

Dermot Desmond

The Ladbrokes-Coral tie-up was strongly opposed by Ladbrokes shareholder Dermot Desmond. Mr Leaver publicly dismissed the Irish tycoon’s criticisms.

Eir last week sought up to 240 voluntary redundancies from its staff, which would bring its total workforce down to about 3,000.

The move, which was unexpected given previous guidance from management, is being viewed as further evidence that the business is gearing up for its mooted flotation sooner rather than later.

Richard Moat, Eir’s chief executive, said Mr Leaver has a “wealth of experience” in the consumer sector. The chairman designate said he was looking forward to working with Mr Moat on its fibre rollout.

Mr McManus will stay on as a strategy adviser to the business.