Non-execs only at the INM directors’ table

But the media group’s board is ‘very, very supportive’, says its chief executive

At Independent News & Media's agm in Dublin's Westbury Hotel yesterday, company chairman Leslie Buckley apologised to shareholders for the corporate housekeeping that was about to ensue.

With each of the company’s nine directors up for re-election on this occasion, Buckley was obliged by stock market rules to go through the motions of a show of hands and confirmation of proxy votes received for each individual.

The INM nine were all present and correct, including Communicorp chairwoman Lucy Gaffney, who had the misfortune to be on crutches as a result of an injured foot.

When each director had been safely re-elected, Buckley took a gulp of water – all those company resolutions were thirsty work.


"Have you forgotten Mr Preston?" one shareholder inquired, in reference to chief financial officer Ryan Preston, sitting on the far end of the directors' table. "He looks lonely down there."

But Preston, as Buckley explained, was not a company director, and neither indeed was the man who was sitting by the chairman's side, chief executive Robert Pitt.

This puts INM in the slightly unusual position of having no executive directors on its board.

Pitt and Preston, who are both former Tesco executives, joined the company last autumn and are managing it through its newly debt-free, acquisition-hunting incarnation.

“Robert and Ryan are new to the company, and there’s a process that one goes through,” said Buckley afterwards. “You earn your directorship.”

Pitt may not be a member of the board, but he sees them all the time.

“We interact with the board. We’re present at all board meetings. We speak our mind. We get feedback from the board. The board are very, very supportive,” he said.

“This is a business that is very, very aligned. We have a plan and we feel supported on that plan.”

So that’s all good.