O'Reilly Outguns O'Brien at IN&M Showdown

12 June 2008

LONDON: Independent News & Media stockholders delivered a resounding 'no' to dissident 25% shareholder Denis O'Brien (pictured) at the company's annual meeting in London on Wednesday.

In what many see as a battle of egos between the group's largest and second largest shareholders, respectively  IN&M ceo Sir Anthony O'Reilly and compatriot telecoms tycoon O'Brien, Clan O'Reilly gained the day. 

Nonetheless, O'Brien, who did not grace the meeting with his presence, secured protest votes of up to 37.4% against the re-election of various directors.

They were opposed for diverse reasons, among them the unusual size of the 20-member board, especially the thirteen non-executive members and their exceptional term of tenure.

The latter were accused of receiving annual fees well above Ireland's average of €50,000 ($77,600; £39,600) for an non-executive director.

Following the meeting clan scion and chief operating officer Gavin O'Reilly dismissed O'Brien and his reform campaign as an irritant rather than a distraction.

Despite which the clan mustered a small regiment of the global great and the good to rally round the board - among them former Canadian prime minister Brian Hillery.

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff