INM board rebuts O'Brien criticism

The board of Independent News and Media has again rebutted criticism of the company by one of its biggest shareholders, Denis O'Brien.

Mr O'Brien has questioned why the company has twice the recommended number of directors when compared to companies of similar size.

The 20-strong board of INM, which owns The Irish and Sunday Independent newspapers and the Evening Herald, attended their AGM amid Mr O'Brien's campaign of criticism of the numbers and their other business interests.

However, former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney, who is chairman of the company's Corporate Governance Committee, strongly defended the board, which also includes the ex-British Chancellor Ken Clarke and chairman of Ireland's Forum on Europe Maurice Hayes.

He said INM adheres to the highest international corporate standards and asked why Denis O'Brien would invest $500m (€321m) in a 25% stake if he didn't think it was a "fine company and a fabulous investment" and that some may see this as hinting at ulterior motives on Mr O'Brien's part.

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