Eir takeover deal triggers exodus of senior executives

Five more departures announced as French telecoms billionaire Xavier Niel set to move in

Eir’s head of sport and TV Glen Killane, who was  recruited in 2016 from RTÉ, is one of seven senior executives to leave the telco in the coming weeks. Photograph: Alan Betson

Eir’s head of sport and TV Glen Killane, who was recruited in 2016 from RTÉ, is one of seven senior executives to leave the telco in the coming weeks. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Eir has confirmed the departure of five more senior executives, bringing to seven the number that have left in the wake of the company’s imminent takeover by French telecoms billionaire Xavier Niel.

Eir’s head of sport and TV Glen Killane, who was only recruited in 2016 from RTÉ, and its group marketing director Henry Drummer, are to leave the telco in the coming weeks.

They will be joined by Eir’s director of corporate finance Michelle Bennett, its Simplicity programme director Paul Doyle, and Cathal Garvey, who is a finance director of Open Eir, the company’s wholesale arm.

These departures come in the wake of Eir’s chief financial officer Huib Costermans’s decision to leave in June, and Eir’s chief executive Richard Moat, who announced his departure as details of the takeover deal emerged last December.

The company’s non-executive chairman Carl Leaver is also stepping down, having taken up the role only last September.

Eir declined to comment on the exodus of senior staff other than to confirm the departures.

Regulatory approvals

They appear to have been triggered, however, by the arrival of Mr Niel, who is set to complete his takeover within the next few weeks having received the necessary regulatory approvals.

His investment vehicle NJJ and Paris-listed telecoms company Iliad, in which the entrepreneur owns a 52 per cent stake, agreed in December to acquire 64.5 per cent of Eir in a deal worth €3.5 billion.

The arrival of Mr Niel’s companies will mark the seventh change in ownership for Eir in less than two decades.

The former State-owned company ran up debts of €4.1 billion through a series of changes in control before it filed for examinership in 2012, resulting in €1.8 billion of its borrowings being written off.

Some 45 senior staff at Eir are set to share €100 million in exchange for their shares in the company under the latest purchase.

Carolan Lennon, currently Open Eir’s managing director, will take over from Mr Moat when the deal goes through.

An Post chief executive David McRedmond, a former commercial director at Eir, is also set to become the company’s chairman.

Two months after the takeover deal was announced, Eir controversially exited the Government’s National Broadband Plan having spent two years working on its bid. Its departure leaves just one bidder in the State-subsidised scheme.