The O’Reilly family’s 30-year grip on conglomerate Independent News & Media is reportedly under pressure, as shareholders look to reduce the family’s control.
According to the Financial Times, INM’s two largest shareholders, telecoms billionaire Denis O’Brien and financier Dermot Desmond, want to oust chief executive Gavin O’Reilly.
The news comes as the company, which has operations in Ireland, Northern Ireland and South Africa, as well as shares in Australasian businesses, reported a 10.9% fall in revenues to €558 million.
Profits also took a hit, decreasing by 8.6% to €75.5 million, as “very challenging trading conditions” took its toll on the business.
O’Brien, Ireland’s second richest man according to Forbes, and Desmond will seek the removal of O’Reilly at the group’s annual general meeting in June, said the Financial Times, quoting two sources close to the company.
INM has not responded to a request for comment.
O’Brien, who controls 22% of the company, has long since been a vocal critic of O’Reilly, while Desmond, with about 6% of the company’s shares, is also said to be unimpressed with the chief executive and the management team.
O’Reilly took over the CEO role from his father Tony in 2009. Despite holding management positions for years, the family owns just over 13% of INM, according to the Financial Times.