INM makes €700,000 severance payment to ex-financial chief

Media organisation paid new chief executive Michael Doorly in excess of €630,000 in 2018

Former INM chief financial officer Ryan Preston. Photograph:  Bryan Meade

Former INM chief financial officer Ryan Preston. Photograph: Bryan Meade

 

Ryan Preston, the former chief financial officer of Independent News & Media (INM), will receive a severance payment of almost €700,000, its annual report shows.

The report also reveals group chief executive Michael Doorly was paid €632,000 in his first full year in the role.

It shows too that the company has made provision of €9.8 million for libel. Group chairman Murdoch MacLennan said in his statement to shareholders that the State’s defamation regime was “outdated”.

Mr Preston, who recently departed his role as chief financial officer, was paid €408,000 in 2018. This included a salary of €278,000 and a bonus payment of €81,000.

Mr Preston, regarded as an ally of former chief executive Robert Pitt, agreed in December to leave INM “by mutual consent” at the end of January. He will receive a severance payment of €699,500 in addition to a payment of €23,000 “made on reaching agreement with regard to termination terms”, said the company.

He will also receive €117,897 in lieu of notice and €12,840 in holiday pay up until the completion of his statutory notice period in May 2019.

“During this time, Ryan will continue to remain available to provide support to the business as it refocuses its existing finance model,” said the company.

A successor to Mr Preston has yet to be appointed, although Mr Doorly has signalled that there were internal and external candidates for the role.

Mr Doorly’s remuneration in 2018 comprised salary of €404,000, an incentive bonus of €152,000, retirement benefit of €51,000 and allowances of €25,000.

His total package of €632,000 is higher than the €421,000 remuneration that his predecessor, Mr Pitt, received in 2017. Mr Pitt resigned in October 2017 and received severance of €1.5 million, including €239,950 in lieu of notice.

Higher incentives

INM’s remuneration committee has since decided to increase the range of possible incentive payments it may offer its two top executives to 75 per cent of annual salary for the chief executive and 60 per cent for the chief financial officer.

This is up from 60 per cent and 42 per cent respectively. These bonus payments are dependent on the executives’ performance meeting to a series of targets.

Current and former non-executive directors of the news group shared remuneration of almost €630,000 in 2018, a year in which its board had several changes in personnel. This was down from €674,600 in 2017.

Mr MacLennan, who became chairman in March 2018, was paid €145,400. The next highest payment was to independent director Len O’Hagan, who received €123,400. Mr O’Hagan sits on INM’s audit and risk committee, nomination and corporate governance committee and its remuneration committee.

Former chairman Leslie Buckley, who resigned in March 2018, received a fee of €26,700. Mr Buckley is an associate of Denis O’Brien, INM’s largest shareholder.