Conroy Gold boardroom drama could turn into pyrrhic victory

Move by dissident shareholder may result in little more than stalemate

Conroy Gold chairman Prof Richard Conroy. Photograph: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie 

Conroy Gold chairman Prof Richard Conroy. Photograph: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie 

 

Shareholders at Conroy Gold would no doubt prefer that any drama surrounding the company was around the discovery of a viable mine than a boardroom squabble.

The stakes are now uncomfortably high for all sides in what is essentially a battle for control of the future direction of a business that has to date yielded nothing for investors.

Dissident shareholder Patrick O’Sullivan has succeeded in having six of the company’s preferred directors voted off the board. However, he was foiled in his attempt to have himself and two others of his choosing elected in their stead.

What happened is still mired in controversy as the motions for their election were put to a vote at last week’s egm only for founder and chairman Prof Richard Conroy to rule, on legal advice, that they were of no effect. How that could be so has yet to be explained and may yet be played out in the courts.

O’Sullivan has turned his ire on Conroy himself, and his managing director Maureen Jones, and now seeks their departure.

O’Sullivan’s argument throughout has been that the current board is not able to advance the best interest of the company and requires greater expertise to raise the funds necessary for further exploration at its sites in Northern Ireland and Finland. But is he in danger of moving so dramatically that he undermines what he hopes to achieve?

Conroy is the founder, back in 1995, of the business that bears his name and it is arguable that much of its support, from shareholders and other funders, is due in large part to him.

Ejecting him from the board could prove a pyrrhic victory for O’Sullivan.

And it’s not a forgone conclusion. Despite O’Sullivan’s 28 per cent shareholding, targeting Conroy could be the one thing that helps the beleaguered chairman secure support from other investors. In that case, both sides may achieve little more than a stalemate that offers little promise to either side, or to other investors.

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