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Under fire One51 chief wins reprieve

UNDER scrutiny One51 chief executive Philip Lynch has eased the mounting pressure on his leadership of the investment group, by securing the backing of former dissident John Hegarty.

In February, Mr Hegarty, a Limerick businessman, put his shares in the business up for sale in what was seen as the start of a damaging spat between himself and Mr Lynch, to whom he had previously sold his recycling business.

Some believed Mr Hegarty to be the real driving force for demand for change that surfaced so publicly at last week’s AGM in Dublin’s Shelbourne hotel.

At the meeting dissident shareholders, led by former senior executive Gerry Killen, failed to have three nominees of their choice elected to the board, in a move to bring force change at the top table.

They included former Beamish & Crawford boss Alf Smiddy, Mr Killen and Peter Brennan, a former director of the employer body IBEC. They failed to achieve that goal and the names never went before the meeting for selection.

Mr Killen who led the attack on Mr Lynch at the AGM was believed to have had strong backing, including financial support, from Mr Hegarty.

Shareholders and some One51 directors who spoke at the AGM expressed concerns at the apparent lack of corporate governance in the group. They were particularly concerned that Mr Lynch had not disclosed his earnings from One51, the investment group, which holds significant minority stakes in NTR, Irish Continental Group and IFG.

Pledges made at the meeting look to have eased Mr Hegarty’s concerns.

He told The Sunday Business Post he was happy with the "positive outcome" of last week’s AGM.

As a result of the commitments achieved at the AGM, Mr Hegarty has since urged Mr Lynch to stay at the head of One51.