ONE51 boss Philip Lynch bowed to shareholder pressure and disclosed to the group’s well attended AGM in Dublin yesterday that he was paid €1.4 million last year, despite presiding over losses of nearly €100m in the previous three years.
Mike Soden, the former chief executive of Bank of Ireland, questioned the generosity of the salary given that the shares, traded on the grey market, have fallen in value by 65% from €5 to €1.90.
Mr Soden asked if the salary was “funding a lifestyle incompatible with the results of the company”. “I am not pleased” with the current state of the company and stressed that “stronger governance is a must”.
He added the company was suffering at this stage from a “dreadful image”, but concluded by saying: “For the record I support Philip Lynch.”
Addressing the group’s AGM, Mr Lynch conceded he was “highly paid” and said his pay is currently “under review”. Overall the executive team was paid a total of €2.7m last year.
Of the near 300 shareholders who turned up at the well publicised meeting, several questioned the poor standard of corporate governance and the lack of transparency within the group.
Former executive Gerry Killen had tabled 25 questions in advance of the meeting which the group dealt with at length, including Chandela, the vehicle intended to funnel more than €4.9m to senior executives and others in the form of tax efficient bonuses.
Alan Walsh, chief financial officer, said Chandela was fully compliant with Irish tax laws. The patent (for a type of paint tin lid) was 100% owned by the group, a point that had been questioned by Killen and his supporters.
Board members also expressed serious concerns about the way the company was being run under Mr Lynch.
Non-executive director Noel Cawley said the company’s board had not been told of the payments from patent income distributed to management.
He accused Mr Lynch of operating “an old style of corporate governance”.
Another non-executive director and former agriculture minister, Ivan Yates, said he had been troubled by some of what had been recently discovered. Looking to the future, he was “excited” about the prospects for the company, pointing to the potential within Clear Circle, the newly branded environmental services division of the company.
If he failed to meet his objective of increasing shareholder value he would resign, Mr Yates said.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved