Independent News & Media's chairman Leslie Buckley is stepping down from the company after over five years in the job. 

In a statement, INM said Mr Buckley will step down from his position at the company's Extraordinary General Meeting on March 1. 

The company also said that Allan Marshall, a non-executive director, will retire from the board on that date.

Mr Buckley's successor as chairman will be announced shortly after the EGM, INM said. 

Mr Buckley thanked all the "great people who work for the company for their support during what has been an eventful and challenging time for both the company and for the Irish newspaper industry as a whole."

INM today also announced the proposed appointment of four new non-executive directors to its board - John Bateson, Fionnuala Duggan, Murdoch MacLennan and Seamus Taaffe.

In a statement, the Board of INM thanked Leslie Buckley for his leadership and his contribution to the Company since his appointment as Chairman in 2012. 

"Leslie has been a very strong leader of INM's board during what has been a difficult and challenging period for the company at a time of great change in our industry," the statement said.

"We note in particular, the very strong financial base INM now has following his term as chairman. The financial restructuring led by Leslie in 2013 has cleared a legacy deficit in excess of €430m, to a position today, where the Company has a cash surplus in excess of €90m," it added.

Mr Buckley had been in a dispute with the former CEO of the company, Robert Pitt, about a potential takeover of the radio station Newstalk. The station is owned by INM's largest shareholder, businessman Denis O'Brien. 

Mr Pitt resigned from the company last year.

The discussions about a takeover of Newstalk never resulted in a formal proposal to the board of INM but the internal dispute reportedly prompted Mr Pitt to make a whistleblower disclosure to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement.