Monday, January 31, 2011

Shane Ross - practitioner of cronyism

Shane Ross was one of Fintan O'Toole's putative "dream team" and is now running as an independent candidate in Dublin South constituency in the upcomimg general election.

In Saturday's Irish Times (29th Jan), Miriam Lord quotes from a recent Shane Ross campaign letter on cronyism, a key theme in his campaign for election to the Dáil. In fairness, Senator Ross has a long record of attacking cronyism in the boardrooms of Irish companies.

Unfortunately, this record is somewhat blemished by the Senator’s long-standing ability to turn two blind eyes to the boardroom of his own employers, Independent News & Media (IN&M).

While Senator Ross has regularly railed against the perceived corporate governance failings of other companies, he always managed to most dutifully ignore the fact that, for many years his employer, Sir Anthony O’Reilly, in contravention of corporate governance best practice, held the dual roles of Chairman and Chief Executive of IN&M, while the company’s board was bereft of truly independent directors, being largely comprised of a mix of old company retainers and family members.

In addition, IN&M sharholders have suffered losses that are proportionately as large as those suffered by AIB & BOI shareholders, but I defy your researchers to find one critical word about the performance of the company or its managemnet from the so-called "Business Editor". (I seriously doubt his ability to read a company balance sheet.)

In all IN&M/Sir Anthony matters, Senator Ross can be accused of being a practitioner of cronyism and of showing no appetite for biting the hand that feeds him. I strongly suspects that he’s not nearly as fearless as he’d have us believe.

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