Former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney has become a director of Independent News & Media, the international press group owned by one-time Heinz boss Sir Anthony O'Reilly.

The appointment of Mulroney, who was PM from 1984 to 1993 before joining a leading Canadian law firm, is clearly a major PR coup for IN&M.

Simultaneously O'Reilly has stepped down as chairman in favour of non-executive director Dr Brian Hillery, a former Irish politician and chairman of the UniCredito Italiano Bank's Irish division. O'Reilly retains the role of chief-executive.

The announcements came at IN&M's annual meeting where executives reported a first half increase of 6% in advertising revenues for the group, which has newspapers in South Africa, New Zealand, Eire and the UK.

Last year the UK operation launched a compact version of The Independent, its broadsheet daily, in an apparently successful attempt to halt declining sales.

Data sourced from: Media Week (UK); additional content by WARC staff