INM chief Crowley to step down

Vincent Crowley, 60, will stand down as chief executive of Independent News & Media at the end of May, the company confirmed in a statement last night.

INM chief Crowley to step down

The company said in a statement: “The effective date of Mr Crowley’s departure is 31 May, 2014, unless an earlier date is agreed. Mr Crowley will continue in his existing role during the selection process for a new group CEO, which shall commence immediately using an external advisor. Progress in this regard will be announced as soon as practicable.”

Mr Crowley has been with Ireland’s largest media group since 1990. He served as chief operating officer between 2009 and 2012 when he was elevated to the top job following the departure of Gavin O’Reilly.

It is believed that Mr Crowley’s decision to leave the company was amicable. Together with the chairman, Leslie Buckley, he oversaw the restructuring of the highly-indebted company over the past three years. However, the restructuring process is now complete.

When Mr O’Reilly stood down in 2012, INM was carrying over €600m of bank debt and pension liabilities. In lengthy negotiations with the company’s banks, which included a €40m new-equity raise, the total level of bank debt was reduced from €440m to €118m.

A restructuring of the pension scheme saw its deficit reduced from more than €130m to €80m.

Denis O’Brien increased his stake in the company to 29.9%; fellow shareholder Dermot Desmond increased his stake from 6.4% to 15%; while Tony O’Reilly’s position fell from 13.3% to 7%.

Quoted in the company statement Mr Crowley said: “With the support of a wide range of stakeholders, substantial progress has been made over recent years; net debt has reduced from €440m to approximately €118m, divestments of over €150m have been achieved, and INM’s cost and operational base have been transformed. I believe INM is now well positioned for an island of Ireland recovery.”

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