Belfast Telegraph

UTV's AGM goes by with no sign of new chairman

By Margaret Canning

Utv Media plc has said that it will unveil a new chairman "shortly", after its annual general meeting (AGM) took place without a puff of white smoke.

The company said it was still looking for a new chairperson after veteran John B McGuckian was removed in February over his links to Dublin investment company TVC Holdings, an 18% shareholder in UTV.

A spokeswoman said his successor would be unveiled before non-executive directors are announced to replace construction firm owner Kevin Lagan and TVC executive chairman Shane Reihill, who stepped down after their ally was removed in the shock boardroom shake-up.

"We are conducting a very thorough process and it's critical we appoint the right candidate.

"The process is progressing well and we hope to announce a permanent replacement shortly."

Non-executive director Helen Kirkpatrick remains the company's interim chairman.

One analyst said that it was "surprising" that no directors had been announced.

"They have just a five-member board at the minute. That's too small as three of them are executives ... That may create corporate governance issues."

An interim management statement from UTV, owners of the Channel 3 broadcasting licence in Northern Ireland and 21 radio stations in Great Britain and Ireland, said that revenue for the first four months of the year was up 2% on last year.

Radio station talkSPORT revenue was up 16% on the same period last year while overall radio revenue for all of Great Britain was up 8%.

But UTV warned that economic uncertainty had led to short-term airtime bookings. "We therefore remain cautious about the remainder of the year but believe we will continue to deliver on market expectations."