IMO chief's exit package halved

Sat, Dec 22, 2012, 00:00

The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) was liable for some €20 million in pension and other benefits for retired chief executive George McNeice, it was confirmed last night.

However, it has succeeded in reducing this liability to €9.7 million in negotiations with its chief officer, the organisation’s president, Dr Paul McKeown, said.

In a statement sent to the union’s members, he said: “Mr McNeice acted within his rights given his contractual entitlements. However, his contract was negotiated many years ago and in a form which left the organisation very exposed to changing economic circumstances and changes in legislation, particularly in respect of pension provision and salary increases.”

He said events had unfolded as follows:

“The IMO sought and received advice from various independent parties including actuarial advice, taxation advice and legal advice from two independent senior counsel. That legal advice clearly stated that the organisation could not expect to win any legal challenge to the contractual entitlements held by the CEO.”

Dr McKeown said the IMO began talks to settle the matter and to ensure it still had enough financial resources to continue its own work representing its members.

He said efforts were made to reach agreement at a lower cost to the IMO, but were not successful.

“Intensive negotiations with representatives of Mr McNeice then took place over recent weeks and concluded with a legally binding agreement between the two sides, which was signed this week, Dr McKeown said.

“This agreement secured the resignation of Mr McNeice as CEO of the IMO and of all other offices which he held in his role as CEO of IMO. Mr McNeice has [had] no active management role in the organisation since yesterday,” he said.

“The settlement negotiated by the IMO reduced the cost of the settlement to approximately €9.7 million – including a pension fund of approximately €4.5 million, a contractual termination payment of €1.5 million and delayed pension payments of €3.75 million ,” he added.

Dr McKeown said the deal would not need to be financed by future membership subscriptions.