Buckley says goodbye to INM for the second time

Cantillon: chairman will depart March 1st as part of overhaul of the media group’s board

INM chairman Leslie Buckley, who will step down as chairman on March 1st. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

INM chairman Leslie Buckley, who will step down as chairman on March 1st. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

For such a hardened corporate battler, it will surely rankle with Leslie Buckley that he must depart as chairman of Independent News & Media (INM) in difficult circumstances for the second time in seven years.

The first occasion was in 2011 when, at the height of his ally Denis O’Brien’s battle with Sir Anthony O’Reilly for control of INM, Buckley was ousted in a shareholder vote. A year later, he was reappointed chairman in a triumphant return.

Buckley announced his intention to resign on Friday, three days before a scheduled High Court hearing over an investigation into INM by the State’s corporate watchdog, which was sparked by a whistleblower complaint about Buckley.

It will feel an unseemly exit for Buckley, as he faces demands from the Office of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) to turn over personal files related to the appointment of outside security experts who gained access to INM’s internal systems.

Before he departs on March 1st, perhaps Buckley will answer a question asked of him by the ODCE: who paid the bill for this outside access, and was it done for the benefit of INM?

Buckley was a nominee of the board of INM’s main shareholder, Denis O’Brien. Sources speculate that another O’Brien nominee, Paul Connolly, could step into the chair.

If Connolly, a longtime business associate of O’Brien, is elevated to chairman, INM will have to explain how his appointment fits in with corporate governance guidelines, which say the chair must be independent upon appointment.

It would also be an interesting appointment on the basis that Connolly previously sued INM as a director, in objection to an exit package given to former chief executive Gavin O’Reilly.

INM is appointing four new non-executive directors to its board. Notably, one of those is John Bateson, the right-hand man of Dermot Desmond, INM’s second largest shareholder.

It would be interesting to know what Desmond has made of the extraordinary revelations to flow from INM’s boardroom in the past 15 months.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.