Eason appoints David Dilger as chairman

Ex-Greencore chief will take over role at State’s biggest book seller in November


Irish books and stationery retailer Eason has chosen former Greencore chief executive David Dilger to be its new nonexecutive chairman from November 1st. Mr Dilger takes over a role that was previously held by businessman James Osborne, who died in August.

The position had been filled in the intervening period by Gervaise Slowey, the former head of Communicorp, who returns to her previous role as a nonexecutive director with Eason.

Mr Dilger (60) has extensive business and board experience across a range of industries and roles. He was Greencore chief executive between 1991 and 2008, leading the transition of the business from being largely a sugar manufacturer to becoming the world’s biggest maker of sandwiches.

He had previously served as chief executive of Food Industries plc and was a former chief financial officer at Woodchester Bank.

He also served as chairman of the Dublin Airport Authority, and was previously on the boards of Bank of Ireland, James Hardie plc and the Children’s Medical & Research Foundation.

Mr Dilger is currently a nonexecutive director of the cash logistics business GSLS. He qualified as a chartered accountant with KPMG in Dublin and studied law in Trinity College Dublin. In 2005 he was awarded an honorary CBE in the UK for services to British industry.


Mr Dilger said he was “delighted” to accept the role of chairman with Eason. “I look forward to contributing to the positive progress and momentum achieved by Eason in recent years, especially in the context of a challenging economic and retail environment ... [and] to working closely with my fellow board members and the management team in the interests of our shareholders, customers and employees.”

Ms Slowey said Mr Dilger would bring “ valuable independent insights and expertise to Eason”.

Liam Hanly, Eason’s managing director, said he looked forward to working with Mr Dilger on “further growing our brand and business and ensuring Eason continues to deliver a compelling and exciting shopping experience for all our customers”.

Mr Hanly is overseeing the implementation of a €7.5 million investment strategy out to 2020 that was signed off earlier this year by the board of Eason, the State’s biggest book seller. This includes a €750,000 investment to complete the upgrade of its flagship store on O’Connell Street.

Eason has more than 60 stores across Ireland, including franchise outlets. It also operates a wholesale division servicing independent retailers. The privately owned company employs about 1,000 staff and has a turnover of more than €220 million.

The company has undergone significant restructuring in the past number of years in the face of disruption from online rivals, changing consumer habits, recession in Ireland and the decline of sterling after the Brexit vote in the UK.