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O’Brien Wins the Day at Indo AGM
Denis O'Brien looks like he has managed to pull off a boardroom coup at Independent News & Media following a heated AGM of the group today which saw chairman James Osbourne and chief financial officer Donal Buggy voted off the board.
Although O'Brien was not in attendance, his representative solicitor Owen O'Connell read a statement on his behalf which called for a radical restructuring of the group "I believe it is of the utmost importance for the company, its shareholders, it's employees and its assets, that urgent, radical re-structuring is undertaken immediately," the statement read.
With a number of other directors resigning in recent weeks, there will be a number of vacancies around the boardroom table and speculation is mounting that O'Brien may seek to have some of them filled with his own lieutenants. If boardroom control is ceded to the O'Brien camp, many onlookers believe that it could trigger all kinds of questions about media ownership and a collision course with the Minister for Communications, Pat Rabbitte might be unavoidable.
Before opening the AGM, Osbourne commented that "this is my first AGM and may be my last."
With the support of Dermot Desmond's shareholding, O'Brien was in a strong position to call the shots at today's AGM. In his statement that was read out, O'Brien lashed out at the payment of €1.9m to former CEO Gavin O'Reilly and said that the company had lost the confidence of its banks and the markets.
Earlier the recently appointed CEO of the group Vincent Crowley told shareholders that the group was closing its head office in Citywest and was selling its London office. He also told shareholders that a redundancy programme for the Sunday World was fully subscribed.
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