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Arts donor Martin Naughton steps down from his role at Glen Dimplex


Martin Naughton

Martin Naughton

Martin Naughton

One of Northern Ireland's best known philanthropists and business people is retiring from his main role.

Martin Naughton - a major funder of the Lyric Theatre in Belfast - is to step down as president of appliance and heater maker Glen Dimplex in Newry.

He will be replaced by group chief executive Sean O'Driscoll as part of a sweeping reorganisation at the top of the company.

Mr Naughton's £1m donation towards the rebuilding of the Lyric Theatre in 2007 is thought to be the biggest-ever personal donation to arts here.

Mr Naughton said that he would be leaving the board of the company he founded more than 40 years ago, and handing over the reins to his long-time CEO.

Fergal Naughton - son of Martin - succeeds Mr O'Driscoll as chief executive and Michael Maher becomes chief operating officer.

Martin McCourt, formerly of Dyson, joins the group as non-executive chairman and Neil Naughton will be deputy chairman.

Martin Naughton founded Glen Electric in 1973 and in 1977 acquired Dimplex, forming the Glen Dimplex Group.

Along with Lochlann Quinn - another well known Irish business figure - Mr Naughton built Glen Dimplex into Ireland's largest private manufacturing company.

Morphy Richards, Dimplex and Xpelair count among the group's many brands. It also has sites in Portadown and Craigavon.

"On stepping down as president, I am pleased to say that the business is in great shape, with a clear strategy and strong performance," Mr Naughton said.

"I am particularly pleased that Sean is succeeding me as president and that Fergal and Michael are taking on new responsibilities. I also welcome Martin McCourt to our board as non-executive chairman.

"We have a high calibre team at Glen Dimplex which will drive its long term profitable growth and make our companies even more exceptional in the years ahead," he added.

The Glen Dimplex company describes itself as "the undisputed world leader in intelligent electric heating".

But Mr Naughton is also a major investor in property.

Along with the Hastings Group in Northern Ireland, Mr Naughton and Mr Lochlann Quinn were key backers of the Merrion Hotel in Dublin.

Belfast Telegraph