RTÉ board set for dramatic overhaul as Savage’s term ends

Minister for Communications Alex White must appoint six new members this month

Tom Savage: his term as  chairman of the RTÉ board came to an end on August 31st. Photograph: Cyril Byrne.

Tom Savage: his term as chairman of the RTÉ board came to an end on August 31st. Photograph: Cyril Byrne.

 

RTÉ has lost two-thirds of its governing board this week, and a radical overhaul will take place before the end of this month with chairman Tom Savage and six key Government-appointed members set to be replaced.

The term of six board members – Sean O’Sullivan, Karlin Lillington, Fergus Armstrong, Patricia Quinn, Alan Gilsenan and Joe Little – all came to an end on August 31st as did that of Mr Savage, a former broadcaster and director of PR firm the Communications Clinic.

Six new appointees will have to be announced by Minister for Communications Alex White ahead of the next scheduled board meeting later this month, while an election is under way in RTÉ to determine which staff member will replace Joe Little on the board.

Earlier this summer the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications announced it was looking for expressions of interest from “qualified members of the public”, who would like to be considered for appointment to the board of RTÉ.

To be considered for the position, applicants were told they would need experience in a number of areas including media affairs, public service broadcasting, digital media technologies, legal or regulatory affairs and business.

Some of the key challenges facing the new board will include the arrival of newcomer UTV Ireland, which will start broadcasting early next year, while the relentless encroachment of internet technology into the station’s traditional business and broadcasting models will also put pressure on the national broadcaster.

“We look forward to the announcement regarding the new RTÉ Board members in due course, and to working with them over the years ahead,” a spokeswoman for RTÉ said.