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31/07/2021

CEO claims he was wrongly summarily dismissed from €125,000 per year job over 'contrived' allegation

CEO claims he was wrongly summarily dismissed from €125,000 per year job over 'contrived' allegation

The CEO of a wealth management and investment advice firm has claimed before the High Court that he was wrongly summarily dismissed from his €125,000 per year job last week.

Rory Mason, who is the CEO and the beneficial owner of 15% of the firm's shares of Dublin-based firm GillenMarkets says that his employer has wrongly accused him of gross misconduct, namely that he stole €14,000 from the firm.

He strongly denies any wrongdoing, and claims that the "accusation of theft" re "utterly without foundation" and claims they are a "contrived attempt" to remove him from his position as CEO "by whatever means necessary". 

He also says that he was "left shocked" and "utterly taken aback" by the accusations made at the meeting between him and the company chairman Mr Dermott Browne.

Oisin Quinn SC for Mr Mason told the High Court that the money was paid to his client by way of an annual bonus, which he said was fully disclosed to and approved by the company's board. 

It is his client's case that he is the subject of baseless and false allegations and Mr Mason was dealt with by the chairman without any process of investigation at all.

Counsel the defendant's actions amount to breach of his client's legal entitlements as well as his constitutional rights, and rights to natural justice.

As a result, Mr Mason has sued his employer, ILTB trading as GillenMarkets, and Mr Dermot Browne, the company's chairman.

At the High Court on Wednesday Mr Justice Senan Allen granted Mr Mason a temporary injunction, on an ex-parte basis, preventing the defendants from implementing or terminating Mr Mason's purported dismissal.

The court also restrained the defendants from publicising, repeating, or communicating in any form the misconduct alleged against Mr Mason.

Seeking the injunctions Mr Quinn, appearing with Ray Ryan Bl and instructed by solicitor Simon McAleese, said that had been difficulties within the company's board for some time.

Counsel said that prior to the allegation of theft being made against Mr Mason, his client has been asked by the company to leave his role as CEO and take up another position within the firm, which he declined.

Following the meeting with the chairman, who the court heard has not day to day role in the operation of the company, Mr Mason was also told that the matter could be reported to both the Gardai and the Central Bank of Ireland, which regulates the company.

At that meeting counsel said that Mr Browne also told Mr Mason to write a letter of resignation and return all company property to the firm.

Mr Mason, a father of five who is aged in his mid-fifties, said in a sworn statement to the court said that during that meeting "It was clear that I was being fired," and that he was being given a short window to resign, which he declined to do.

Counsel said that any dismissal would have a huge impact on Mr Mason's professional reputation within the financial services sector, where he has worked for the last 25 years.

He has been with GillenMarkets for some years, and the company has been successful and grown, counsel said.

The matter was adjourned and will return before the court next week.

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