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INM board members to be reclassified as non-independent

Two members of the board of Independent News and Media will be reclassified as non-independent, non-executive directors, the Irish Independent has learned.

The reclassification will be confirmed when the company issues its annual report for 2016. According to its most recent annual report, issued on April 29, 2016, INM non-executive directors Mr Terry Buckley, Mr Jerome Kennedy, Ms Triona Mullane, Dr Len O’Hagan and Mr Allan Marshall, were considered to be independent by the board.

Throughout 2015, at least half of INM’s board comprised non-executive directors deemed by the board to be independent.

It is not unusual for a board member’s status to be reclassified depending on changes in their relationship with the business. The duties assigned to directors can also vary.

Yesterday the INM board, whose titles include the ‘Sunday Independent’, Irish Independent and, met ahead of today’s annual report publication.

It is understood that the media company’s AGM, due to be held in May, will now be rescheduled for later this year. A spokesperson for INM said the AGM date would be announced today, adding that information on directors would be addressed in the annual report.

INM’s board, led by Leslie Buckley, has been in the spotlight after INM CEO Robert Pitt made a complaint under new whistle-blowing legislation to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE).

The complaint prompted the company law watchdog to seek records in relation to the possible acquisition by INM of radio station Newstalk.

The complaint, made under the Protected Disclosures Act 2014, was made late last year, around the time INM issued a statement to the stock exchange confirming that an “issue” had arisen between Mr Pitt and Mr Buckley over the proposed acquisition of Newstalk.

Businessman Denis O’Brien is the largest single shareholder in INM. He is also the owner of Communicorp Group, whose assets include Newstalk.
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