Margaret Sweeney to Step Down as Ires REIT CEO after Six Years

Ires Residential Properties (Ires) REIT, a property investment firm, has disclosed that its Chief Executive, Margaret Sweeney, will be retiring from her position next year. Ms. Sweeney has held this role for a successful six-year period and is set to step down in April. With this announcement, the company is now in pursuit of a successor, initiating the search for the right candidate.

Ms. Sweeney expressed her feelings about her tenure, stating, “It has been a privilege to lead Ires for the past six years, and I am proud of the team and portfolio that we have built. The company has undergone significant transformation, particularly in the last two years, evolving into a fully integrated Irish entity, steered by a seasoned team with a cutting-edge operating platform. After serving as CEO for six years, I believe it is the appropriate time to retire and facilitate the transition to new leadership in 2024.”

Ms. Sweeney has also conveyed her willingness to extend her service beyond the stipulated six-month notice period if necessary to ensure a smooth handover to her successor.

Declan Moylan, Chairman of Ires, recognized the exceptional contributions made by Ms. Sweeney, highlighting her significant role in Ires becoming the leading provider of high-quality private residential rental accommodations in Ireland during her tenure, which commenced in 2017. Under her leadership, Ires expanded its portfolio by over 60%, amassing approximately 4,000 units. She also oversaw the establishment of new long-term funding structures and a substantial strengthening of the company’s balance sheet. Furthermore, she successfully led the internationalization of the business, facilitated the implementation of a new technology platform, and integrated the business following the acquisition of the management company in 2022. The company’s strong performance, as evidenced by its recent trading update, reflects the successful groundwork laid by Ms. Sweeney, positioning Ires well for the future.

Ires has faced a challenging year, with public dissent from Vision Capital, a 5% shareholder, who criticized the company’s strategy and called for it to be put up for sale. At its AGM in May, a significant portion of Ires investors voted against the reappointment of Chief Executive Margaret Sweeney, with a considerable percentage expressing dissatisfaction with Chief Financial Officer Brian Fagan.

The announcement of Ms. Sweeney’s retirement coincided with the release of a trading update for the third quarter of the financial year by the largest private landlord in the state. The update indicated strong occupancy levels, with a 99.6% occupancy rate across its portfolio as of the end of September. Additionally, ongoing initiatives aimed at addressing rising costs are showing promising results.

Ires also reported that it is ahead of schedule with its asset disposal program, having already achieved approximately €96.5 million of its previously announced €100 million target. These proceeds have been employed to fortify the balance sheet and retire higher-cost debt. The company intends to continue evaluating opportunities to selectively divest assets, thereby delivering value to its shareholders.

Furthermore, Ires has successfully reduced its loan-to-value ratio from 44.6% at the end of June to under 42%, further solidifying its financial position.