Another Buckley calls time at INM

Director Terry Buckley will depart as soon as a replacement is found

Terry Buckley: will step down as director of Independent News & Media

Terry Buckley has announced he will step down as director of Independent News & Media (INM). That leaves just one director – Triona Mullane – from the panel of four who ran INM in 2014 while the company waited for Robert Pitt to take up his role as chief executive.

Buckley, who will be up for re-election at next month's agm but will depart as soon as a replacement is found, will follow his former chairman Leslie Buckley (no relation) and Allan Marshall from that group of four towards the exit.

Leslie Buckley was, of course, a nominee of Denis O’Brien throughout his time on INM’s board. At the time that they served on the panel of four who ran INM, Marshall and Mullane were considered independent non-executives. It later emerged, however, that both were wrongly classified as independent – Marshall because he was paid fees for consultancy work at INM, and Mullane because a company linked to O’Brien invested €250,000 in her tech start-up without that being declared to other shareholders.

Of the four who ran the business, only Terry Buckley, whose day job is managing director of Clear Channel Ireland, can be deemed to have been independent. Even then he does have some links to O’Brien as they are both members of the Special Olympics council of patrons that O’Brien also chairs.

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Deloitte, which was brought in by INM to review the independence of the board in 2017, deemed that those links are not strong enough to warrant Buckley being designated non-independent.

Meanwhile, INM is gearing up for its defence to the application by the Director of Corporate Enforcement to appoint High Court inspectors to investigate matters at INM, including a data breach that allegedly occurred in 2014.

The interrogation of the data, possibly including journalists’ sources, was allegedly paid for by an Isle of Man company beneficially owned by Mr O’Brien.

INM has hired PricewaterhouseCoopers UK partner Kim Green as an expert witness to highlight the damage it says would be done if inspectors are appointed to the business.