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New appointment of former lobbyist to RTE board does the State no service

Another day, another State board appointments controversy. It's long past time for this Government to take good corporate governance standards seriously. But no sign of it so far.

On the contrary, a senior executive closely linked to an alcohol lobby group has just been appointed to the RTÉ Authority. Have her Leinster House supporters never heard of the Caesar's wife principle?

The appointment of Fionnuala Sheehan is an error of judgment, leaving RTÉ's governing board a hostage to fortune. It risks compromising the work of the Authority, and tarnishing both its reputation and the national broadcaster's. Frankly, Alex White, I'm surprised at you for not blocking this misguided nomination.

Ireland's Code of Corporate Governance, the industry standard best practice yardstick, lays particular emphasis on the independence of non-executive directors. That should be non-negotiable. Every non-executive director's independence is supposed to be rigorously assessed.

Ms Sheehan has spent the past 12 years at the head of a lobby group called the Mature Enjoyment of Alcohol in Society (MEAS), and stepped down less than three months ago. MEAS is funded by the alcohol industry and represents that sector's interests. Drinks companies spend a great deal of money on both advertising and lobbying. They have a vested interest in broadcasting policies surrounding alcohol advertising.


Source: Martina Devlin, Irish Independent, 12/02/15

Posted by drugsdotie on 02/13 at 12:48 PM in
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