Lord Conrad Black's second-in-command at media group Hollinger International may be forced out by the firm's independent directors.

Deputy chairman and chief operating officer David Radler has been asked by a group of non-executive board members to choose between his position at Hollinger and his work for newspaper group Horizon Publications.

Horizon is a private company run by a group of associates including Radler and Black, Hollinger's chairman/ceo and controlling shareholder. It publishes several local papers in the US, most of which it acquired from Hollinger in 1999.

The relationship between the two companies is under investigation by three independent board members as part of a corporate governance probe set up after pressure from shareholders. These directors believe Radler's holding of both posts is against good company practice.

However, the deputy's departure from Hollinger would do little to appease angry shareholders. Laura Jereski, a fund manager at US investment firm Tweedy Browne, insisted that the media group's links with Horizon would still be a cause for anxiety even if Radler left. Tweedy owns an 18% stake in Hollinger and is one of the most vocal critics of its corporate governance [WAMN: 16-Jun-03].

Hollinger is parent to such titles as Britain's Daily Telegraph, the Chicago Sun-Times in the US and the Jerusalem Post in Israel. It is currently battling to find new funds to cover a loan repayment due in April [WAMN: 05-Nov-03].

Data sourced from: Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff