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Rory Coveney resigns as RTÉ's Director of Strategy

Coveney said that he had met with RTÉ’s new director general Kevin Bakhurst in recent days.

RTÉ’S DIRECTOR OF Strategy, Rory Coveney, has announced that he will step down with immediate effect.

Coveney, the brother of Minister for Enterprise Simon Coveney, has worked for RTÉ since 2007 and oversaw the production of Toy Show The Musical which lost RTÉ €2.2 million.

In a statement released this evening, Coveney said that he had met with RTÉ’s new director general Kevin Bakhurst in recent days.

“I met with Kevin over the past few days and told him I believed the tough job ahead of him would be made somewhat easier if he had a fresh lead team,” Coveney said.

“I’ve tendered my resignation immediately to give him the space to do that. Having worked with Kevin before, I’ve absolute faith in him. He’s the right person to rebuild the national broadcaster. I wish him the very best.”

Bakhurst stated: “I want to express my sincere thanks to Rory for his significant contribution to public service media during his time in RTÉ.

“As Strategic Adviser to the Director General, and latterly as Director of Strategy, Rory steered the organisation through a period of unprecedented change in media, while overseeing RTÉ’s complex strategy and public affairs units. His diligence, energy and insight were hugely appreciated by many across the organisation. I wish him the very best for the future.” 

Last year’s Toy Show musical made just €495,961 in revenue against costs of €2,699,193. In total, the project made a loss of €2,203,231.

Coveney defended the show’s financial failure, saying this week at a meeting of the Oireachtas Media Committee:

“I’m not sure if anyone in here was at the show, but those that attended it absolutely loved it, particularly children.”

“It clearly wasn’t a commercial success but it wasn’t from a lack of effort from everyone involved.” 

Bakhurst is expected to publicly outline his plans to “restore trust” in RTÉ on his first day in the role tomorrow.

Speaking today, he said:

“I’d rather not say too much ahead of tomorrow, just say we’re going to be in contact with staff first thing in the morning via email, and I’ll be going around meeting people, trying to take questions and explain what we’re trying to do.

“The only thing I’ll say to people is it’s time for action now, that’s all we need.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that he understood that Bakhurst was going to make some  “changes to the organisation, the way the management is structured and also is going to deal with issues around conflicts of interest”.

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