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Q4 Quarterly Review 2019

VOL. 56 NO. 4


David McRedmond





An Post CEO David McRedmond



Adirupa Sengupta, Global CEO,

Common Purpose





Mario Draghi, Former President

of The European Central Bank


Lord David Puttnam CBE


Shortlists for Company of The Year,

Business Person of The Year and

The Diversity & Inclusion Award


42 CEO 100 2019

Ireland’s visionary leaders



The companies at the forefront of

Irish business


Managing Director

Head of Design

Design Assistant

Ian Hyland

Tracey Carney

Keith Dalton

David Stedmond


Creative Content Specialist

Social & Digital Media Manager

Evelyn O’Keeffe

Louise Bannon

Andrew Norton

Brigitte de Sousa



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Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance




Are the climate kids





Ireland’s premier digital awards

celebrates 30 years of the internet


A dinner to honour former

Minister for Finance Michael

Noonan TD


Recognising Ireland’s Tech Talent


Connecting the financial services



Connecting tech and investors



Announcing a new partnership

with Dublin City Council



Recognising business for change





Tomás Sercovich, CEO, Business in the

Community Ireland



Caroline Anstey, Senior Adviser, World

Economic Forum


Daron Acemoglu, Professor of

Economics, MIT



Lory Kehoe, Managing Director and

Country Head, ConsenSys Ireland


Entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan



Simon Johnson, Professor of

School of Management

2 Business & Finance Quarterly Review Q4 2019


A note from the publisher

It was Theodore Roosevelt who said,

“Do what you can, with what

you have, where you are.” Such

an ethos has served both

the business and political

community well in a year of

constant change.

As 2019 draws to a close, it is

timely to reflect on the year gone

by, one defined by challenges and

uncertainty due to Brexit, slowing

global economies, and international

trade wars. But amid a year of such

constant change, Irish business has made

constant progress. In what has been another

momentous year for Irish business, Business &

Finance has been there every step of the way to

record, communicate and celebrate the wins as the

Irish economy continues to go from strength to

strength, while not without its challenges.

We take great pride at being at the heart of Irish

business and helping to track and recognise the

best and most innovative across all industries in the

form of our curated Indices such as the CEO 100

Index and the Business & Finance 100—celebrating

the 100 most outstanding Irish businesses, not

just based on size. Recognising the very best in

leadership, across business, social and political

spectrums we are delighted to host the 45th

annual Business & Finance Irish Business Awards,

in association with KPMG. We are honoured that

former President of the European Central Bank

Mario Draghi will receive the Sutherland Leadership

Award—created to honour the great business leader

Peter Sutherland whom we lost in 2018, and Lord

David Puttnam CBE will accept the T.K. Whitaker

Award for his Outstanding Contribution to Public

Life in the name of another Irishman, Ken Whitaker.

Both honoured are proof that it is possible to be

both a great patriot and a global citizen.

Amid such geopolitical uncertainty, Ireland’s role

in the world has never been more important. Our

Government, led by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and

Tánaiste Simon Coveney, continue to represent our

interests and values impeccably on the international

stage. What is crucial however, is that the private

sector acknowledge its responsibility to support

these efforts and that Irish businesses play their

part in amplifying Ireland’s voice. In this regard, I

am pleased that we have played our part through

our Ireland INC Platform, which hosted its 9th

Ian Hyland,

publisher of

Business & Finance,

and President of

Ireland INC, reflects

on the year.

Annual Ireland Day at the NYSE last March.

More significantly, we worked with our

partners in Ibec to lead a CEO delegation

with former Taoiseach Enda Kenny

to Capitol Hill last month where we

raised critical issues for Irish business

with leaders of the Administration

and Congress including Speaker

Pelosi, Secretary Wilbur Ross and

Chairman Richie Neal. Our message

to leaders was clear—Ireland means

business. This is the start of a more

consistent dialogue and the seriousness

with which we are taken reflects the value

the United States sees in Ireland as a crucial

supporter of American jobs.

As we look to effect Roosevelt’s words at the

outset of this piece, it is through partnership and

partnership alone that we have always succeeded in

maximising our potential in a domestic and global

context. I want to thank our partners who help us

do this, from Seamus Hand, Managing Partner, and

his team, at KPMG; Danny McCoy, CEO, Pat McCann,

President and their colleagues at Ibec; and the many

government ministers, political and social leaders

who support our engagements across the year.

As we look to 2020 and what a new decade might

bring, we can be cautiously optimistic. Our eye is

always on the future, and whilst celebrating major

successes over 2019, Business & Finance media

channels are very focused on what is coming down

the road for businesses and industry, whether

established global corporations or Ireland’s start-up


We will continue to intensify our efforts in the

United States with Ireland INC, building on the

monumental progress made this year. And closer

to home, we will continue a near half century

tradition of recognising business excellence and

supporting the efforts and achievements of all in

the Irish business community. I invite you to join

us on this journey and continue writing a new

chapter for Irish Business.

Ian Hyland

4 Business & Finance Quarterly Review Q4 2019

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Celebrating the 45th anniversary of the

Business & Finance Awards

This year the Business & Finance Awards,

in association with KPMG, celebrates

45 years of recognising not only excellence

in business leadership, but also in social and

political endeavours, which exist in a symbiotic

relationship with trade and industry throughout

the global economy.

In 1974, the very first Business Person of the

Year Award was presented to the late Tom Roche,

founder of Roadstone, now known as CRH. Over

the past 45 years, the prestigious Business &

Finance Awards programme has celebrated the

outstanding achievements of individuals such

as JP McManus, Neville Isdell, Michael Smurfit,

Tony Ryan, Dermot Desmond, Liam O’ Mahony,

Willie Walsh, Philip Lynch, Peter Sutherland,

T.K. Whitaker and Denis O’ Brien as recipients of the

Business Person of the Year Award.

Recognised for the exceptional performance of

their management teams previous winners of the

Company of the Year Award include: Kingspan,

Primark, Smurfit Kappa Group, Paddy Power

Betfair, Google, CRH, Intel Ireland, First Active,

United Drug, Ryanair, Iona Technologies, Airtricty,

Glanbia, Kerry Group and many more of Ireland’s

premier businesses, which have made their mark

not just on the economic landscape of this country,

but across the globe.

The 2019 Awards places a special emphasis

on celebrating foreign direct investment (FDI)

in Ireland, as IDA Ireland marks their 70th

anniversary. The success of FDI companies and

their contribution to Irish business cannot be


excellence in

business, social and

political leadership

since 1974.

Pictured above L-R: José

Manuel Barroso, Kofi Annan,

President Michael D. Higgins.

understated and as a country the establishment

of IDA Ireland was a crucial milestone in our

economic history.

The Business & Finance Awards, in association

with KPMG, recognises some special honourees.

In 2016 a new Award was created, carrying the

name of Ireland’s foremost public servant, T.K.

Whitaker, to mark his 100th birthday. The inaugural

T.K. Whitaker Award for Outstanding Contribution

to Public Life was presented to President of Ireland

Michael D.Higgins that year, with Former Taoiseach

Mr. Enda Kenny TD and Former President of

Ireland, Mary McAleese accepting the Award in

subsequent years. This year, Lord David Puttnam

CBE will be honoured with the Award.

In 2018 Business & Finance announced the

establishment of The Sutherland Leadership

Award in recognition of the late Peter Sutherland,

a truly outstanding business, political and social

leader. The inaugural Sutherland Leadership Award

recognised former President of the European

Commission José Manuel Barroso. In December

2018, former Chairman/CEO of Unilever and friend

of Peter Sutherland, Niall FitzGerald, presented

Mr Barroso with the special recognition in Mr

Sutherland’s name. This year the Award will be

presented to Former President of the European

Central Bank, Mario Draghi.

As always, the results of the esteemed judging

panel’s decision on the recipients of the Irish

Business Awards, for Business Person of the Year,

Company of the Year and FDI of the Year will also

be announced at the glittering gala evening. n

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance


Issued by HSBC Ireland.

HSBC Ireland is a registered business name of HSBC France, a branch registered in Ireland (registration number 908966) having its

registered office at 1 Grand Canal Square, Grand Canal Harbour, Dublin 2, D02 P820 and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland

for conduct of business rules. The branch is registered by HSBC France, a company incorporated under the laws of France as

a société anonyme (registered number 775 670 284 RCS Paris), having its registered office at 103, avenue des Champs-Elysées,

75008 Paris, France. HSBC France is supervised by the European Central Bank, as part of the Single Supervisory Mechanism, the

French Prudential Supervisory and Resolution Authority (l’Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution) as the French National

Competent Authority and the French Financial Markets Authority (l’Autorité des Marchés Financiers) for the activities carried out over

financial instruments or in financial markets.


Sutherland Leadership Award


Mario Draghi

Former President of the European Central Bank

The Sutherland Leadership Award recognises outstanding international

leaders who have embodied the values of one of Ireland’s and Europe’s

finest leaders, Peter Sutherland.

The Sutherland Leadership Award was

established in 2018 with the support

of the Sutherland Family, recognising

its inaugural honouree José Manuel

Barroso, former President of the European

Commission. The Sutherland Leadership Award

is now an integral part of the Business & Finance

Awards Programme.

This year’s honouree Italian economist Mario

Draghi served as President of the European

Central Bank since 2011, with his term ending on

31st October, 2019.

Mr Draghi is widely credited with stabilising the

Euro during one of the most turbulent periods

for the Eurozone, declaring in July 2012 that he

would do “whatever it takes” to save the single

currency. Draghi’s statement was seen as a major

turning point in the fortunes of the Eurozone.

Throughout his term at the helm of the ECB,

Mr Draghi was renowned for navigating the

complex political landscape within the European

Union’s institutions and he succeeded in

promoting growth in the Eurozone through an

aggressive course of quantitative easing, while

championing negative interest rates.

Announcing this year’s Sutherland Leadership

Award, Ian Hyland, said: “With the support of

Peter’s family, we are delighted to recognise a

leader who has been instrumental in shaping the

European financial landscape for the best part

of a decade, with his legacy being the sustained

survival of the single currency and wider

stability the Eurozone as a whole.”


Mr Draghi was previously the Chairman of the

Financial Stability Board from 2009 to 2011 and

Governor of the Bank of Italy from 2005 to 2011.

Draghi was a full professor at the Cesare Alfieri

Faculty of Political Science of the University of

Florence from 1981 until 1994 and a fellow of

the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy

School of Government, Harvard University

(2001). From 1984 to 1990 he was the Italian

Executive Director at the World Bank. From

1991-2001 he held the office of general director

of the Italian Treasury. He has been called the 8th

most powerful person in the world by Forbes, and

the world’s second greatest leader (after Apple

CEO Tim Cook) by Fortune. n

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance



TK Whitaker Award


Lord David Puttnam CBE

The T.K. Whitaker Award for Outstanding Contribution to Public Life

recognises Irish and international social and political leaders who have

been exemplary in their contribution to public life.

The T.K. Whitaker Award for Outstanding

Contribution to Public Life was inaugurated

in 2016 to celebrate the 100th birthday of Ken

Whitaker, Ireland’s foremost public servant. Previous

recipients of the award are President of Ireland

Michael D. Higgins in December 2016, Former

Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD in 2017 and former

President of Ireland Mary McAleese in 2018.

This year, Lord David Puttnam CBE is receiving the

Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution

to public life in the context of the arts, education and


The multi award-winning filmmaker and Labour

peer has called West Cork his home for over 30 years,

and travels from there to his seat in the upper house

of Parliament in the UK, where he has been vocal in

support of the interests of the Republic of Ireland in

relation to Brexit.

In a speech given in April, he said, “There is one

voice I’ve been waiting to appear during this debate,

and it hasn’t yet, and that’s the voice of the people in

the Republic of Ireland.

“I would like to get across to your Lordships the

incalculable level of anxiety that has been caused to

the people of the Republic of Ireland by our apparent

indifference to what happens [if this is] a no-deal

outcome. It’s something I cannot stress enough. I

would beg them to think of the people I live beside

who are terrified should we, by some ridiculous

series of means, crash out of the European Union.”

Lord Puttnam also pursues an active role in a variety

of areas, including educational and environmental

issues and the promotion of digital skills.

He is the Chair of Atticus Education, an online

education company founded in 2012 that delivers

audio-visual seminars to students all over the world.

Lord Puttnam is perhaps best-known as the

producer of Chariots of Fire, winner of the Academy

Award for Best Picture in 1982. Other notable films

in his vast filmography include The Mission, The

Killing Fields and Midnight Express.

Together his films have won 10 Oscars, 10 Golden

Globes, 25 BAFTAs and the Palme D’Or at Cannes.

From 1986-1988, he was Chairman and CEO of

Columbia Pictures. From 1994 to 2004, he was

Vice President and Chair of Trustees at the British

Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA) and

was awarded a BAFTA Fellowship in 2006. He

is also a Fellow of the British Film Institute and

President of the Film Distributors Association. n

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance




AWARD 2019

The Company of the Year recognises an

Irish company which best demonstrates

outstanding business leadership,

sustainable growth, innovative strategy,

strong financial returns and employee

development. Recent winners include

Kingspan (2018), DCC (2017) and ICON



1. Diaceutics

2. Combilift

3. Dalata

4. eShopWorld

5. UDG Healthcare

6. Transfermate

7. Ornua


YEAR 2019

The Business Person of the Year Award

recognises an individual who has

demonstrated an outstanding level

of achievement across his/her recent

career over the past year. The Award

is judged across multiple criteria,

including Performance, Ethics, Vision

and Innovation. Recent winners include

Tony Smurfit (2018), Paul Marchant

(2017) and Dómhnal Slattery (2016).


1. Peter Keeling, Diaceutics

2. Ger Rabbette, Uniphar

3. David McRedmond, An Post

4. Margaret Sweeney, I-RES REIT

5. Michael Doherty, Woodbrook


6. Brendan Mooney, Kainos

7. Pat McCann, Dalata

8. David Walsh, Netwatch

9. Brendan McAtamney, UDG


10. Tommy Kelly, eShopWorld

11. Tina McKenzie, Grafton


12. Anne O’Leary, Vodafone

13. Carolan Lennon, Eir



This award recognises Irish

companies that are fast-growing

and with significant potential to

continue to scale globally, focused

on Irish companies achieving up

to €350m in revenue. The Award

complements the well-established

Company of the Year Award which

recognises Irish companies above

this revenue threshold.


1. Learn Upon

2. Keyword Studios

3. Wisetek,

4. Chanelle Pharma

5. Hanley Energy

6. Eastcoast Bakehouse

7. Taoglas

8. Gaeltec

9. Waterwipes


AWARD 2019

The Diversity & Inclusion Award is a

new category added this year, to mark

the growing significant importance of

the issues in the modern workplace.

It recognises efforts to promote and

champion behaviours and company

cultures that encourage inclusion, respect

and opportunity for all employees.


1. Bank of Ireland

2. Citi Bank

3. Hewlett Packard Enterprise

4. Northern Trust

5. Dell

6. Accenture

7. Diageo

8. Mac-Group

9. Eir

10. Zendesk

11. Vodafone


The FDI of the Year Award recognises a foreign direct investment company’s contribution to the economy and job creation in

Ireland, as well as the reputation of Ireland on the world stage, and its contribution the local communities in which it operates.

Recent winners include Microsoft (2018), PayPal (2017) and Coca-Cola (2016).


Celebrating 70 years of IDA Ireland

IDA Ireland has been a cornerstone of the

Irish economy since its foundation in 1949,

responsible for bringing major companies and

hundreds of thousands of jobs into Ireland.

Ireland continues to perform strongly in

attracting FDI to the country, with Brexit-related

investments being a strong theme over the

past year, as firms looked to move their EMEA

HQs out of Britain. Martin Shanahan, CEO, IDA

Ireland, remarked that it was, “another reminder

of how our European Union membership and

stable pro-enterprise policies are appealing to

investors who are looking for certainty.”

He continued, “For US companies with

ambitions to be global players, Ireland is a natural

fit for their international operations.”

This year Ireland was ranked 7th (up from

12th place) out of the 63 countries benchmarked

in the 2019 IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook.

Ireland also ranks 2nd in Europe. This means that

Ireland has improved in overall competitiveness

from last year’s ranking on a number of scales

across Economic Performance, Government

Efficiency and Business Efficiency.

Commenting on the rankings, Mr Shanahan

said, “Once again, we are reminded that every

time Ireland wins an investment, it is competing

against many other countries to come out on

top. Ireland is an established top-tier investment

location and we must do everything that we

can to ensure that we we stay ahead of our

competition in some areas, and sharpen our edge

in others.”

Companies such as Bank of America, Morgan

Stanley, Legal & General, Everest Re, Huawei,

IDA Ireland, the

agency responsible

for attracting foreign

direct investment

to Ireland, marks its

70th anniversary year.

Overstock, Coinbase, Citi Group, Barclays,

AXA XL, Boston Scientific, LinkedIn, Stryker and

many more have all declared a new or expanded

presence for Ireland over the past year.


Henry Ford set up Ford in Cork in 1917 and since

then Ireland has opened its doors to international

companies setting up a base here. Major coups

included attracting Swedish telecoms Ericsson in

1957 and Intel in 1989—with the core processor

company celebrating 30 years in Ireland this

year. From the mid-1970s onwards IDA Ireland

had focused on attracting pharmaceutical

and electronics manufacturers, two sectors

pinpointed as having significant growth potential

in global terms. The first wave was purely

components manufacturing, but later R&D and

higher value work followed. By 1982, some 130 of

the world’s leading electronics companies had

manufacturing facilities located in Ireland. In the

1980s and 1990s technology and finance were

key areas of focus, with IDA Ireland supporting

the foundatiomn of the Irish Financial Services

Centre (IFSC) in 1987. Recent years have seen

major foreign companies such as LinkedIn,

Pfizer, Paypal, EMC and Airbnb establishing their

EMEA HQs here.

Ireland is one of the most open economies

in the world. Trading and doing business with

the outside world comes naturally to the Irish,

thanks to a blend of historical, cultural and social

factors. It is no surprise that businesses from all

over the world have been calling Ireland home

for decades. n

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance



Ireland INC delegation to Washington

Ireland INC, a body which promotes the

business interests of Irish companies in

the United States, completed a two-day

engagement on Capitol Hill in November,

where the delegation progressed a number of key

issues including the Airbus tariffs, E-3 visas, and

Ireland’s role in the EU.

Fifteen Irish executives and members

of industry groups attended the two-day

engagement which included meetings with

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Secretary of Commerce

Wilbur Ross and House Ways & Means Chairman

Richie Neal. Members of the delegation included

Former Taoiseach Enda Kenny, President of Ibec

Pat McCann and Ornua President Iarlaith Smyth.

In raising the issue of Airbus tariffs and

the recent WTO ruling, the group raised the

disproportionate burden on Ireland with regard to

butter imports, highlighting that 88% of EU butter

imported to the USA comes from Ireland. The

group received positive responses across the aisle

on this from both Secretary of Commerce Wilbur

Ross, Chairman Neal and Congressman Mike Kelly

who committed to raising the exception with US

trade officials and house colleagues.

The delegation also raised the issue of E-3 visas

with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, following the

reintroduction of new legislation by Chairman

14 Business & Finance Quarterly Review Q4 2019

Ireland INC

progresses issues

of Airbus tariffs

and E-3 visas with


Leadership and

Secretary of


Richard Neal in the House of Representatives.

The proposed legislation would see the E-3 visa

scheme, which is currently only available to

Australian nationals, extended to Irish nationals.

The group expressed their desire for the House to

pass legislation before Christmas and secured a

commitment from Speaker Pelosi that she would

progress the bill, HR-2418, to a vote before the

Christmas break.

Speaking on the conclusion of the two‐day

engagement, Ireland INC President Ian Hyland

said that the dialogue was a strong affirmation

of the Irish private sector’s ability to influence

public policy. “We have had a number of frank

and progressive discussions with the influencers

and shapers of US policy to amplify the voice of

Irish business on some of the key issues affecting

their growth in the United States,” Hyland stated.

He added, “With over 100,000 jobs supported by

Irish companies across all 50 states, Irish business

need to maintain an ongoing dialogue on not just

maintaining this footprint, but growing it to the

next level.”

Ireland INC activities continue apace, with the

annual Ireland Day event and leadership panel at

the New York Stock Exchange celebrating its tenth

year in 2020.

For more information visit www.irelandinc.com n


Pictured, opposite page: The

Ireland INC delegation meets

with Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

This page, clockwise from top:

The delegation meets with US

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur

Ros; with Congressman Richie

Neal; Ian Hyland and Richie Neal;

Ian Hyland and Nancy Pelosi; the

delegation with US Chamber of

Commerce CEO Thomas Donohue.

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance


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As we look towards the future,

the onus is on our generation

to create a more sustainable

model. Responsible strategy and

decision making is key to reduce

the negative impact of business

on the environment. Developing

a circular economy and working

with green technology, engaging with community

and societal concerns and using resources more

efficiently are all part of the efforts required to shape a

sustainable future.

Ireland has the potential to be at the leading edge of

exciting developments in Clean Technology, with our

abundant natural resources of wind and ocean power,

high skill level and thriving research and development

community giving us natural competitive advantages;

with the right support from government and industry

this sector could thrive to the benefit of all.

The carbon intensity of the global economy fell by

only 1.6% last year, less than half the decarbonisation

rate achieved in 2015. Harnessing the use of

clean energy is vital as the Paris Agreement goals

appear to slip out of reach. However, in September

of this year a report from the Environmental

Protection Agency (EPA) confirmed that in

2018 CO2 emissions fell substantially in the

energy sector. This was driven by a fall in the

use of coal to produce electricity and a 14 per

cent increase in wind energy. Improvement

is possible, but commitment from industry

and society is required. The Government is

committed to reaching 'net-zero' emissions by

2050. Globally, over 800 organisations have

become signatories the Task force on Climaterelated

Financial Disclosures (TCFD). Stepping

up to make significant and impactful changes—

not just in terms of climate change, but also

digital transformation, Diversity & Inclusion and

Corporate Social Responsibility—is the greatest

challenge facing business leaders today and one

that cannot be ignored. n

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance



Business and sustainable

development in times of uncertainty

Business cannot

succeed in societies

that fail, writes

Tomás Sercovich,

CEO, Business in the

Community Ireland.

Four years ago, 195 countries

adopted the UN Sustainable

Development Goals (SDGs) as the

definitive roadmap for a low carbon,

inclusive and peaceful world. Also

in 2015 a major milestone was

achieved with the shared vision of a thriving world

below 2 degrees of global warming as most nations

embraced the COP21 Paris Agreement.

Times have radically changed since 2015.

Science has revealed that we are far away from

meeting the Paris targets and that even if achieved

we need to steer towards 1.5 degrees of global

warming and that already major catastrophic

change has happened in our environment, with

over a million species lost. Add to that a polarised

world and a leadership vacuum in governments

and multilateral institutions—people asking for real

change now turn to business for the solutions.

On the other hand, inequality continues to grow.

An increase in four US cents in the cost of public

transport in Chile sparked massive demonstrations

that ended with 20 people dead and the realisation

that economic growth does not necessarily equate

with prosperity. From Santiago to Hong Kong,

Beirut to Barcelona and Paris, a disenfranchised

society is calling on businesses to act as agents for

meaningful change.


The SDGs are a complex mechanism comprising

17 goals, 169 targets and 230 indicators; ratcheting

mechanisms, Voluntary National Reviews issued by

signatory nations and endless forums, conferences,

papers, websites and regional and national processes

mirroring the global structure.

EU Commission President-elect Ursula von der

Leyen made clear her vision for the SDGs to be

integrated across all EU policies and frameworks

and for Europe to become the first carbon neutral

continent in the world by 2050.


Within this complex structure, the role of business

has been clearly defined. Firstly, there are

business opportunities to be exploited, focusing

on sectors that will be most dynamic in the

sustainable development economy, in areas such

as cities and mobility, healthcare and nutrition or

construction and built environment. The Business


Business & Finance Quarterly Review Q4 2019


A new leadership will be required,

ready to tackle uncertainty and ready

to use the powerful voice of business

to advocate for change

and Sustainable Development Commission

quantified these business opportunities at around

US$12 trillion per annum until 2030.

Secondly, there is an expectation from society.

Earlier this year, a survey of 1,150 people in Ireland

exposed that 75% expect CEOs to take the lead

on change rather than waiting for government to

impose it. Millennials and Gen Z people entering

the workforce have a keen desire to connect with

the purpose of the companies where they work.

Consumers favour more and more sustainable

brands. A recent review by Unilever indicated that

their “Purpose-led” brands in their portfolio have

outperformed other Unilever brands by 67% and

deliver 75% of the company’s growth.

Investors are more oriented towards companies

that meet strict environmental, social and

governance (ESG) criteria. Investment using ESG

parameters, therefore oriented towards SDG

priorities, reached a record high this year, having

traded US$ 41.6 billion last year.

Finally, there is a clear rationale that

business cannot succeed in societies that fail.

If moral arguments about the shared mission

of eliminating poverty, child mortality and

inequality are not convincing, let’s consider the

difficulty of conducting business today in Chile,

Hong Kong or in countries that fail to meet the

basic needs of their populations.


The SDG Index is a useful tool to track the progress

of the implementation of the SDGs in different

countries, understand the key priorities and areas

for improvement. The Irish scorecard places us 19th

out of 162 countries and a National Implementation

Plan has been adopted and is closely followed by a

National SDG Stakeholder Forum.

The SDGs provide a clear mandate that needs to

be achieved by 2030 and the Paris Agreement and

subsequent reviews also require concrete results

by the end of the decade that begins in less than

two months. This means that 2020 is going to be

a fundamental year to renew commitments by

countries to ensure the targets are achieved.

From the perspective of the climate crisis we are

facing, a stark warning has been made by scientists

about the need for urgent action to avoid irreversible

damage to our environment and our nature. As our

society continues to grow polarised, demands for

business to act—whether it is on wages or housing

or on adopting a human-centric approach to

technology—will also continue to grow.


For business, the next decade will also be a critical

one. New business models will need to emerge.

A new leadership will be required, ready to tackle

uncertainty and ready to use the powerful voice

of business to advocate for change. New ways of

working will emerge which will need to bring people

together in a truly inclusive way.

Thriving as a business in the low carbon economy

and in a socially inclusive society will demand new

governance and transparency and indeed a new

societal contract. While technology and innovation

will provide many solutions, people must remain at

the heart of any business model.

The key to success, for sure, will be based on

alliances, partnerships and collaboration.

In Business in the Community Ireland we are

working with our member companies to help

translate the SDG rhetoric into action through our

Low Carbon Pledge and our Inclusive Employer

Blueprint. Over 50 of Ireland’s largest companies

have committed to measuring and reporting on

their greenhouse gas emissions and have set targets

for further reductions. Through our network of 100

of Ireland’s most progressive companies we are

developing a roadmap for meaningful inclusion on

business, beyond a diversity and inclusion strategy

and that will promote employment of those most at

risk in this critical change ahead.

About the author: Tomás Sercovich has been CEO of

Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI) since 2018.

Prior to this he was with Spain’s largest sustainability

network, Forética, as Director of External Affairs. BITCI

promotes sustainable change in business, ensuring

that organisations anticipate and are ready to meet

the current, pressing challenges of climate change, the

pipeline of talent as well as the issues of social inclusion,

diversity and accountability. www.bitc.ie n

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance





Digital might close one door, but it opens a host of others for An Post

Chief Executive David McRedmond. He’s on a mission to deliver robust

sustainability in an age of disruption, and to futureproof this inherently Irish

brand. Bob Casey sat down with the man behind An Post’s turnaround to

find out more about McRedmond’s transition to a self‐disruptive leader.

20 Business & Finance Quarterly Review Q4 2019


In my experience, what

makes a great career move is

the tougher, unpopular jobs.

The year 2016 was one of

trials and tribulations for

one of our most-loved

Irish brands. Reporting

a pre-tax loss of

€15.6 million, reflecting

the global decline of

mail revenue, An Post

faced a dire financial

situation that could

only be addressed by a

transformational change, fresh vision and a leader

who was prepared to stir up the dust and make

lasting changes, at pace.

Having just sold long-running media company

TV3, McRedmond found himself seeking a new

challenge; his wish came true when he was

given the opportunity to take on the role as chief

executive for An Post.

“In my experience, what makes a great career

move is the tougher, unpopular jobs. People

underestimate what you can achieve; the power

you have as an individual to effect real change is

much greater, and the job satisfaction that comes

with this paramount.”

With this opportunistic attitude, McRedmond

took the bull that was An Post by the horns and

accepted the job, beginning this new career with

a mission to positively transform an organisation

embedded into Irish culture and community.

Things weren’t all bad at An Post. Despite the

recession, the organisation had introduced greater

Bob Casey, Senior Partner,

Korn Ferry

quality into its services. Yet the downturn still left its

mark, killing An Post’s strategy.

The organisation found itself lost amidst a

sea of financial turmoil; Irish letter revenue had

fallen by 40% since 2007 as a result of growing

e-substitution, hitting the organisation hard, as it

largely remained driven by letters.

Lacking a strategy but remaining steadfast in

maintaining brand loyalty among its customers,

McRedmond knew what he had to do to get An Post

back up and running effectively; he got to work on

seeking out and establishing An Post’s passion and

purpose, consolidating a top team and effecting

transformational change through strategy.


First up on McRedmond’s agenda: sorting An

Post’s top team, strategy and its financials; “The

people on the front line are the heart of An Post —it’s

why the brand is so loved. But this wasn’t being

communicated. By consolidating my top team, I

could drive the organisation towards substantial

change which can serve its customers and the

common good.”

For McRedmond, a considerable part of aligning

the workforce to the passion and purpose of the

organisation was focusing on his top team and

seeking out the energised. Promoting passionate

internal staff (Aoife Beirne and Garret Bridgeman

to Chief of Staff and Managing Director Mails &

Parcels respectively), maximising the loyalty of

longstanding CFO, Peter Quinn, as well as externally

hiring the talented Debbie Byrne to Managing

Director Retail, McRedmond set about honing this

brand-new team to invoke their evident passion

for the organisation and mould it into a concrete,

strategized purpose for An Post.

“Your people matter–without the right mix of

people, your strategy will be pointless. Your people

should create and drive the strategy forward. The

top team I chose brought the right blend of high

performance, experience and fresh perspective. “

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance



It’s for this reason that a key focus for

McRedmond was using this executive team to

inject diversity into the organisation: “Diversity

vastly and immediately improves the quality of

discussion in your team—it’s that straightforward.

A team can be challenged in different ways from

fresh conversation.”

Last year, Korn Ferry released its inaugural

Ireland Board Index, an in-depth study of the state

of ISEQ boards over a decade, from 2007 to 2017.

This research revealed a worryingly low female

board representation of just 13%. Reflecting our

experiences and position, McRedmond comments:

“A blend of perspectives and backgrounds, to me,

is simply unarguable for any business. Diversity

needs to take precedence at all levels of an

organisation, especially in senior management.”

With a talented and passionate top team now in

place, McRedmond and his colleagues were ready

to set up a clear, purposeful strategy to take An

Post into the future.


“Success happens when you marry strategy with

purpose and with brand,” states McRedmond.

Promoting talent with the passion, energy and

drive to take An Post into the digital age and adapt

the organisation accordingly, McRedmond used

the goals of this team to drive his decision making

and to revitalise the brand through the following

three core values:

− Decent Work

Recalling a humorous story about the local

postman who viewed himself as the “head”

of An Post after an encounter with a friend of

McRedmond, the daring Chief Executive states

that this analogy sums up perfectly what the

organisation is about–its people.

“An Post’s staff are what make An Post. They are

its face, its lifeblood, its passion. Ensuring that they

do ‘decent work’, that their jobs are sustainable and

satisfying, that is what is important. That is what

this core principle, ‘Decent Work’ is about.”

Korn Ferry’s Future of Work study predicts that

by 2030, global talent shortages will have reached

over 85 million. To McRedmond, the decision is

clear: businesses must take their people seriously,

treat them well and deliver decent work for all


“An Post refuses to give in to the excesses of

the gig economy; we value our employees and

we feel that their jobs and job roles should reflect

this value. Avoiding zero-hour contracts, we put

job satisfaction and quality at the forefront of our


An Post’s staff

are what make

An Post. They

are its face, its

lifeblood, its


− Climate Action

Currently, 1,500 premature deaths are directly

linked to the increasingly poor air quality across

Ireland, particularly in Dublin. With this expected

to increase, McRedmond has driven An Post to

embrace climate action while moving from the old

world of letters to the new world of e-commerce


“With the long-term objectives of cutting our

emissions by 50% by 2030, and to zero by 2050, we

have committed to be totally emission-free in all our

collections and deliveries within Dublin city centre

(between the canals) by the end of 2019, and for this

to be reciprocated in all of Ireland’s cities by the end

of 2020.”

− Sustainable Communities

An Post has long been a brand at the centre of every

community across Ireland. Embedded at the core,

An Post is an institution in Ireland, just as the local

Post Office is in Britain.

Faced with economic difficulty, An Post found

the decision to consolidate its network hard but

very much needed to secure the survival of the

organisation: “We have a commitment to secure

a branch in every community above 500 people

in Ireland. It was hard to see closures in smaller

areas, but we are dedicated to reaching as many

communities as possible and keeping the

community spirit of the brand alive in this age of

digital disruption.”

It looks like his top team consolidation and

strategic revitalisation of An Post has worked

wonders for McRedmond. Despite a dire forecast

that the company would be €120 million in the

red due to the continual drop in mail revenue,

McRedmond and his team brought the organisation

from the brink, recording a €40 million profit last


Reflecting on this €160 million turnaround,

McRedmond comments: “Fixing the core economics

was essential, but it only really matters if we deliver

social purpose and adapt it to a digitally disrupted

future. It seems that having a top self-disruptor like

McRedmond in the Chief Executive role is making

all the difference.


Revealed in the latest study conducted by Korn

Ferry, only 15% of today’s leaders are considered

“self-disruptors”; leaders who have the capacity

to adapt, to mould and to drive their respective

organisations through the shifting plates and

disruption that the global economy finds itself in.

McRedmond is a fine example of a prepared,

robust self-disruptor; a leader ready to move, to

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance


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adjust and to adapt. Changing the focus of the

organisation, and with the help from his team and

wider stakeholders, including the Communications

Workers’ Union (CWU), McRedmond has sought

out new ways to generate revenue.

In fact, for the survival of An Post, this is a must:

“Each year we must find €35 million to keep our

heads above water. With mail revenue continuing

its decline, this is only set to increase. Identifying

new opportunities is key as a leader of this

particular organisation.”

McRedmond has set about doing just this.

An Post’s focus has shifted to the world of parcels

and e-commerce, with nearly a 40% share of the

business directed towards parcels, up from just


“Every e-commerce transaction results in some

form of a parcel delivery. Letters are slowly dying

out, while Ireland follows the global trend towards

a cashless society. The need to shift An Post’s focus

was clear for me and my team.”

But none of this strategic change would have

been possible without McRedmond’s willingness to

present himself as a self-disruptive leader, operate

from the edge of an organisation looking outwards

for external threats and opportunities, or to

embrace the skills and talent from his diverse team.

“I started my career learning from the ground

of the organisation upwards from the shop floor,

exploring the importance of teamwork during

these early stages. But with years of experience in

Waterstones and WHSmith, I’ve now realised what

makes a leader is where they place themselves

in the room; not in the middle but on the edge,

trusting the team to get on with their jobs while

monitoring outside of the organisation for the

answers,” he advises. “It sounds like a cliché, but

we totally rely on team. We don’t have 1-to-1s; it’s a

team, so we meet as a team.”


For McRedmond, three clear directions lie

on the horizon for An Post: “We want to grow

our e-commerce, financial services and our

omnichannel capabilities.

“To do this, we have lots of work to do to

successfully build our digital capabilities and

accelerate the transformation of our network.”

As the next Brexit deadline of 2020 approaches,


to be

human in an


and to

maximise the


you have


this role of

leadership to

make lasting


what really


companies throughout Ireland could face a

multitude of challenges from border and European

supply chain issues. But the key for An Post is

preparation: “As a proxy for consumer trade, we

have got to embrace this new challenge and find a

new supply chain for our parcels, as part of a global


By 2025, 75% of the workforce will be made of

Millennials. Ireland’s demographics are changing,

and so too should its businesses. For An Post,

this need for change is paramount: “Global trade

eco-systems will hinge heavily on the ability to

attract this demographic’s attention. Getting our

digital infrastructure right with these upcoming

generations will be vital for An Post’s survival.”

The recession has led Ireland and its people to

become a more values-driven society. Its businesses

and their leaders should reflect this change and steer

their respective organisations to drive this forward

into an actionable strategy that produces results.

And what about McRedmond’s advice for

future leaders? “Remembering to be human in an

organisation and to maximise the opportunity you

have through this role of leadership to make lasting

change in that organisation, is what really matters.”

About the author: Bob Casey is a Senior Client Partner

with Korn Ferry Ireland. A former professional

Leinster, IRFU and London Irish rugby player, he was

previously CEO of London Irish Rugby Club. He has

also been a columnist for the Irish Times, and a Sky

Sports pundit. n

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance



Sustainable Start-ups

Green from the get-go, a new breed of companies is growing up around solving

environmental and sustainability issues.


he genesis of many start-ups has been tackling

a problem. Nowhere are problems more

evident than in our current state of crisis

around the environment, climate and sustainability.

A new breed of start-ups are beginning their lives

as green businesses, taking on the issues of the day.

While the bottom line may not be their sole focus,

typically their founders have the passion and drive

to solve problems spurring them on to achieve

their goals. Venture capitalists and green funds are

starting to take notice, while young companies

also look to alternative sources of investment,

such as crowdsourcing, to fund their initiatives.

Following in the footsteps of the hugely impactful

FoodCloud, Ireland’s growing band of sustainabilityfocused

start-ups work across areas varying from

aquaculture to consumer habits.


“Most companies and organisations invest ever

more in sustainability and CSR but have struggled

to successfully communicate this work in a way

that their consumers, employees or other key

stakeholders become aware of these initiatives and

feel that they are personally relevant,” says Joanna

Mulkeen, founder of One Step Closer, a specialist

consultancy business which helps companies

refine their message and communications around

CSR. “We make sustainability tangible, personal

and empowering to more people through digital

engagement campaigns. Our communications

platform and service help make people feel that they

are part of the sustainability journey of the brands

that they consume,” she adds.


Waste tyre disposal is a major environmental

problem. Millions of waste tyres are created in

Ireland alone every year, many of which are

destined for incineration. Longford-based Mimergy

operates in the clean tech sector; the company has

developed a clean and sustainable technology to

convert waste rubber back into high-value chemicals

and fuels, creating a variety of recovered products

which could potentially be alternatives to oil. The

We make sustainability tangible, personal and

empowering to more people through digital engagement

campaigns—Joanna Mulkeen, One Step Closer

proprietary technology presents an opportunity

to recycle a notoriously robust waste, recover

precious resources, and gives industrial consumers

the opportunity to achieve sustainability by using

Mimergy’s green recovered products such as biofuel.



Founded in 2015, Dublin-based UrbanVolt estimated

it had saved the emissions equivalent of taking

9,000 cars off the road annually with its first

200 clients. It now works with some of the biggest

companies in the world to reduce their carbon

footprint through a move to LED lighting with no

capital cost, through its Light as a Service offering.

UrbanVolt enables companies to save 75% on their

lighting costs while also dramatically reducing their

carbon emissions. A proportion of the energy saving

is then paid to UrbanVolt as a service charge for the

first five years, during which time UrbanVolt also

maintains the lights. urbanvolt.com

26 Business & Finance Quarterly Review Q4 2019



Small changes in diet can make a big difference to

a person’s carbon footprint. Evocco is a sustainable

shopping app, with the mission of making

environmental impact a key part of purchasing

decisions. Founded by Ahmad Mu’azzam and Hugh

Weldon, it allows consumers to snap a photo of their

shopping receipt and find out the environmental

impact of their groceries. It offers tips on improving

and personalised vouchers for lower impact

purchases, incentivising the consumer, and helping

producers gain new customers. Mr Weldon recently

won a top UN environmental honour, the Young

Champions of the Earth Prize. evocco.com


The Thriftify platform brings charity shops online,

automatically valuing and selling items on their

marketplace, thereby connecting consumers with

bargains and enabling charities across the UK and

Ireland to earn millions more every year. Founders

Rónán Ó Dálaigh, Rahil Nazir and Timur Negru

founded the company in 2018 with initial funding

from Enterprise Ireland CSF, Social Innovation Fund

Ireland and Inner City Enterprise, and most recently

were awarded €20,000 in the InterTradeIreland

Dublin regional final of its Seedcorn investor

readiness competition. thriftify.ie


Xunison is a software and hardware development

company which provides functional smart home

solutions. The Xunison platform integrates and

connects devices and appliances in the home,

allowing the consumer to track their energy

usage and make efforts to reduce their energy

consumption. The system learns the owner’s habits

and makes suggestions for how they can reduce

their energy consumption, such as unplugging

certain appliances and devices during non-peak

times. Controlled from a smartphone app, the

system allows a homeowner to regulate the

lighting, adjust the heating, and control electricity

consumption in the entire home wherever they are.


Empowering consumers to find out the environmental

impact of their grocery shopping—Hugh Weldon and

Ahmad Mu’azzam, Evocco

A platform bringing charity shops online, connecting

them with consumers—Rahil Nazir, Rónán Ó Dálaigh

and Timur Negru, Thriftify

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance



provided on the condition that the receiver engages

in climate-friendly and sustainable practices, for

example planting trees. GreenFi helps communities

to establish revolving credit facilities that are

seeded by donors and managed by communities

themselves. The mobile app allows members to

track their environmental and financial progress,

while ensuring transparency and accountability. The

Irish company provides its systems globally, with

first use cases across East Africa. greenfi.org

Assisting cities and governments to protect the

environment and improve their waste water

management systems—Michael O’Dwyer, SwiftComply


SwiftComply founder Michael O’Dwyer launched

Europe’s first Fat, Oil and Grease management

program in Dublin over a decade ago, to tackle and

eliminate the growing problem of ‘fatbergs’ blocking

sewage systems. Using this expertise he founded

SwiftComply to assist cities and governments to

protect the environment and improve their waste

water management systems. The company has won

USD $3.5 million of venture capital funding to date

and Mr O’Dwyer has relocated to the US where the

company has already acquired a US competitor.

Significant successful projects include working

with eight of the twenty biggest US cities so far—the

City of Houston improved its compliance by half

after harnessing the SwiftComply technology.



GreenFi is a fintech that provides tools and training

materials for the eco-credit movement; the team

behind GreenFi developed the eco-credit concept

which won the UN Prize for Climate Change

Finance Innovation. The company’s mission is to

extend eco-credit and financial inclusion to small

producers. Eco-credit involves low interest rate loans


The ethos behind Dowmann is that there is no such

thing as waste, merely resources in the wrong place.

The company offers Local Authorities a managed

service to convert their green biomass waste (a

catch-all term for plants, trees, and grasses) into fuel

pellets to generate clean energy, rather than leave

the biomass to rot or send it to landfill. Dowmann’s

green waste pellets work out 40% cheaper than oil

on the basis of cost per kWh of energy generated.

Dowmann aim to significantly offset fossil fuel

imports, reduce carbon emissions and improve

air quality. By processing biomass locally, instead

of importing it from distant countries, the local

economy benefits from sustainable, non-exportable

jobs and clean energy. dowmann.com


Fashion, by its nature ever-changing, is anathema

to sustainability; in its worst form ’fast fashion’

means consumers buy low cost clothing, produced

in conditions where workers are poorly paid and

treated. Even when it comes to quality clothing, the

water footprint of one cotton shirt is the equivalent

of two-and-a-half years’ drinking water for one

person. The Nu Wardrobe is a sharing economy

platform which allows users to share clothing

with people in their hyper-localised area, such as

universities, work-places, and neighbourhoods. As a

community, Nu extends the lifecycle of clothes and

significantly reduces waste. thenuwardrobe.com


Hexafly is a global leader in sustainably produced

protein, produced from farming black soldier fly, a

robust, recycling insect. No waste is produced, in fact

the process takes in waste streams for bioconversion

by the insects, and the output is sought-after

sustainable alternatives to environmentallydamaging

commodities such as fish feed, poultry

feed, feed enhancers, protein, chitin and fertilizers.

The global market for organic, sustainable protein for

animal feeds is growing and the company hopes to

further expand its Meath-based workforce of 23 in

the coming year. hexafly.co n


Business & Finance Quarterly Review Q4 2019


Business has a duty of care

This October brought the news that many

already knew. Ireland had missed their

target to reduce Green House Gas (GHG)

emissions and the pledge to reduce emissions

to 20% below 2005 levels by 2020 would not be

met. Significant financial penalties, estimated

at between €100‐150 million by the Minister

for Communications, Climate Action and the

Environment, will start to be imposed upon the

Emerald Isle from 2020 as a result of this failure.

While promising steps are being made globally

towards reaching the Sustainable Development

Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Accord, there are still

some very worrying statistics. The International

Energy Agency global energy and CO2 status report

2019 shows global energy consumption increased

by 2.3% in 2018, with fossil fuels supplying around

70% of this need. Global energy related CO2

emissions also grew by 1.7%, up 0.3% on 2018

figures. The World Economic Forum’s 2018 Global

Risk Report highlights growing concern with

eight of the top 10 risks facing the global economy

identified as environmental or societal, with climate

change a key driver linked to many of these risks.

While the finance industry may not be prime

polluters, there is a desperate need for all sectors

to work together on a solution. We have a duty

to assess the impact that business activities have

on the environment, to scrutinise entire value

chains and identify gaps or where we can align our

business activities closer to the SDGs.

For those of us in the insurance industry,

climate change is a very real threat. There have

been warnings that a warming of four degrees

would make modelling climate risk impossible

and ultimately uninsurable, demonstrable in

that extreme weather in Ireland in 2018 led to

€84 million in insurance pay-outs.

At Aviva, we recognise the need to move

beyond the niche of ‘green’ finance and ensure

We have a duty to

assess the impact

that business

activities have on the

environment, writes

Caitlín Flanagan.

Caitlín Flanagan, Corporate

Responsibility Executive,

Aviva Ireland

mainstream finance is more sustainable. In 2006

we were the first global insurance group to offset its

entire operational emissions. Through our carbon

offsetting projects, we have helped over a million

people in the developing world while promoting

the SDGs. We were recognised in 2017 for our work

in this area, being awarded the UN Framework

Convention on Climate Change’s Momentum for

Change Lighthouse Activity Status.

Businesses can no longer treat sustainability as an

externality and must internalise it into all processes.

ESG considerations can yield benefits for customers

too and sustainability is something that customers are

becoming more aware of when choosing products.

For example, Aviva focus on restoring, where possible,

rather than replacing during the claims process. This

means reaching our customers within 24-48 hours

after they instigate a claim so that the damaged

property can often be restored rather replaced. This

reduces cost, waste as well as reducing inconvenience

for our customers.

In 2018 Aviva were awarded the UN Foundation

Leadership Award for our work towards helping to

achieve the SDGs. This is reflective of the fact that

ESG is integral to all our business and investment

decisions. In Ireland we aim for all our commercial

redevelopments to obtain LEED gold status and Aviva

Investors have signed up to the UN Principles for

Responsible Investment.

The world of business and finance has traditionally

been muddied by a view of short‐termism and

finance flowing toward projects that offer short

term profitability. With the integration of ESG

considerations into all financial flows, it has

been stated that companies with a reputation

for sustainability attract and retain employees,

customers, B2B customers and investors as well as

lower operational costs, a convincing business case

indeed and one that will help Ireland move toward a

more sustainable future. n

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance








In the last 50 years, we’ve seen dramatic

and unprecedented progress in human

indicators, and the market system has

served us well on so many levels. But

deep fractures are beginning to show.

Income inequality has increased in

almost all countries, albeit at different

speeds. At the same time, we see record

environmental degradation, loss of

species at unprecedented rates—some 200 per

day—severe stress on food systems and water,

massive deforestation and climate change. Today,

markets are unsustainable.

We need a new economic model—a model that

benefits people and planet.

Last month, 200 CEOs redefined the purpose

of a corporation: no longer would shareholders

have primacy. Companies should be run for the

benefit of all stakeholders–customers, employees,

suppliers, communities and shareholders. This is

the same idea—the multi-stakeholder theory—that

underpinned the founding of the World Economic

Forum in 1971. As we face an unprecedented

environmental crisis, the idea is taking firmer

We need an economic

model that works

for people and

the planet, writes

Caroline Anstey.

hold. A recent survey of CEOs found 90% believe

sustainability is important to their companies’

business success. Behavioural economists

now believe that the entire premise of classical

economics—that people will always act in their own

self-interest—is wrong.

This is the good news. Hearts and minds are

changing. An increasing number of millennials,

business leaders and women in particular are

calling for a new kind of market: a sustainable

market, an inclusive, equitable, green and

profitable market where sustainable principles

drive growth, generating long-term value

through the integration and balance of natural,

social, human and financial capital.

To capture this momentum, HRH The Prince of

Wales, with the support of the World Economic

Forum, has formed a Sustainable Markets

Council. This Council will bring together a

unique coalition of corporates, governments and

multilateral financial institutions to galvanize

the commitment, action and strategic leadership

needed to transform our market mechanisms to

work for, not against, sustainability.

30 Business & Finance Quarterly Review Q4 2019


There are dangers as well as opportunities...

of greenwashing...of misaligned tax and

incentive regimes

Building sustainable markets requires change

in three main areas: a shift in corporate business

models, a reoriented and mobilized financial

system and an enabling environment that promotes

regulation and incentivizes action. Already, we see

change. Today, global estimates suggest the market

for sustainable household appliances, reflecting

consumer demand, is $546 billion and growing.

As another example, Boston Consulting Group

estimates $23 trillion of assets under management

worldwide are in funds focused on environmental,

social and governance criteria.

But there are dangers as well as opportunities—

dangers of greenwashing, dangers of misaligned

tax and incentive regimes, danger the plethora

of sustainability initiatives fail to deliver scale or

critical mass.

As companies, we must move beyond corporate

social responsibility as a business add-on (and

to be fair an increasing number are doing this)

to mainstream, transforming businesses to align

strategy, structure and other activities to ensure

long-term stakeholder value in addition to

financial returns. The lack of universal measures

to transparently define goals and assess progress is

a concrete challenge. Global standards, backed by

regulators, will be game changers.

We also need a financial system fit for purpose.

We must address flawed pricing systems in capital

markets that result in relentless allocation of capital

to short-term, unsustainable uses. We need financial

regulation and reporting that integrates sustainability

with global standards and mandatory disclosure.

Finally, we must recognize that what

governments do and don’t do is critical. Incentives

can attract or repel investment, taxes can favour or

Caroline Anstey, Senior

Adviser, Sustainable Markets,

World Economic Forum

suppress energy choices, and information, such as in

food or product labelling, can win or lose customers.

We need to steer towards sustainable stakeholder

capitalism. A good first step would be to end perverse

subsidies in agricultural, fisheries and fossil fuels.

Consumers have power, too, to persuade

boardrooms and cabinets to rethink policies and reexamine

bottom lines. Controlling an estimated 60%

of global GDP, citizens and consumers can change the

market. We see it happening already.

The time is right. But we will only seize it if we

recognize the choice we face: to continue on our

current path or to shift to a more sustainable one.

This choice brings immense opportunity. To put

people and planet at the heart of global value

creation. To create new markets and technologies.

To explore moonshot innovation and disruptive

solutions for our most intractable challenges. To

develop new partnership models that deliver more

rapid and sustainable results. And to ensure human

aspiration can be sustained for millennia to come. We

need to make that choice now.

About the author: Caroline Anstey is a Senior Advisor

at the World Economic Forum and the Inter‐American

Development Bank. She is a Senior Fellow at

the Results for Development Institute. She was

previously Chief Operating Officer at the Open Society

Foundations; Group Managing Director at UBS AG;

and Managing Director at the World Bank.

The views expressed in this article are those of the

author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

This article appears courtesy of the World Economic

Forum, and was first published online at www.



Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance



Sustainability-linked loans:

Putting a price on ESG

Although its ‘Year of Sustainable Finance’

is drawing to a close, Ireland only seems

to be getting started. At a country level,

the National Treasury Management

Agency (NTMA) successfully raised €2 billion

through the syndicated tap of the existing 2031

Irish sovereign green bond, while in June, ESB

issued Ireland’s first corporate public green bond.

Wider activity is increasingly visible too, such

as the publication of dedicated GRI‐compliant

Sustainability Reports, the launches of several

green bond frameworks and the recent

signatories to the UNEP initiative, Principles for

Responsible Banking.

Yet Ireland is predicted to fall short of its

environmental targets for 2020 and 2030. And as

the effects of climate change increase, the impetus

for the nation’s issuers and investors to pursue

sustainable objectives is growing ever stronger.

Ireland’s transition to a low carbon economy,

however, is estimated to exceed €40 billion.

To bridge this gap in other countries, issuers

and investors are exploring other niches of

the sustainable finance market. A hotbed for

innovation, the market is constantly exploring

new ways to align environmental, social, and

governance (ESG) concerns with financial

performance—particularly through financing

vehicles such as the fairly recently established

“green loan” and the much more nascent

“sustainability-linked loan”.


Green loans—that is, debt dedicated to

finance environmentally beneficial projects—

represent the greater share of the overall

global responsible loans market. Although

trailing at USD$36.4 billion, the younger

sustainability‐linked loan market has seen

exponential growth, expanding sevenfold

between 2017 and 20181.

Unlike green-labelled loans, the sustainability

linked label does not reflect an allocation of

loan proceeds to defined sustainability-related

projects. Instead, it can be attached to any loan

instrument that provides incentives to set and

pursue ambitious sustainability objectives. This

widens the range of eligible loan facilities–for

example, letters of credit, various capital lines, and

revolving credit facilities (RCF).

Patrick Drury Byrne,

Senior Director,

S&P Global Ratings

Europe is the

global leader for


loans, writes Patrick

Drury Byrne.

Europe is the global leader for sustainabilitylinked

loans. In 2018, French-based Danone used

an independent assessment to link its €2 billion

loan to its performance on ESG factors—thought

to be the first instance of a company explicitly

doing so. Indeed, using an independent ESG

assessment to determine loan pricing is

recommended under the Sustainability Linked

Loan Principles to ensure fluctuations in ESG

performance are accurately and transparently

priced, thus avoiding the risk of ‘ESG-washing’

and safeguarding the ‘sustainability-linked’ label.

And the practice has expanded since. In July

2019, Spain’s fourth-largest telecoms operator,

Másmóvil, issued the first leveraged loan package

in Europe to include an ESG component.

In July 2019, S&P Global Ratings gave Spanish

telecoms operator Másmóvil a score of 67/100

under our ESG Evaluation. This served as the

initial reference benchmark for determining

changes in the interest rate on both the capital

expenditure line and the RCF of the €1.7 billion

loan. If the score deteriorates, the interest rate

will rise; if it improves, the rate will decrease.


Clearly, there is strong market interest to align

ESG objectives with financial performance,

which acknowledges a correlation between

robust ESG risk disclosure and improved

corporate financial performance and investment

returns. Although establishing a definitive link

requires more research, holistic ESG assessment

may help companies and investors prepare for

the strategic risks and opportunities that could

emerge in the longer term, such as regulatory and

technological disruptions.

Although still a nascent market,

sustainability‐linked loans could spur awareness

around the material financial impacts of ESG

factors, redirect investment in economies such

as Ireland towards achieving environmental

targets and, ultimately, drive systemic uptake of

sustainable business models worldwide.

About the author: Patrick Drury Byrne is Senior

Director and Cross-Practice Lead for S&P Global

Ratings in Ireland.

To read S&P Global Ratings’ research, please

visit www.spglobal.com/ratings. n

1www. bloomberg.com/professional/blog/sustainable-debt-market-sees-record-activity-2018/

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance


Crossing boundaries,

solving problems

Group CEO of Common

Purpose, Adirupa

Sengupta, tells

Business & Finance

about the need for

leaders who cross

boundaries, and the

next big challenge in

Diversity & Inclusion.

Common Purpose Ireland is a notfor-profit

organisation that develops

leaders who can cross boundaries,

building their capabilities to

solve complex problems both in

organisations and in cities.

Common Purpose Ireland recently welcomed

the Global CEO Adirupa Sengupta to Ireland to

speak at an evening graduate event on the topic

of Culture Collisions and A Changing Ireland

and to celebrate the 30th year since the birth

of Common Purpose globally, and its 22nd

anniversary in Ireland.

We caught up with Adirupa, a globally-renowned

expert on Diversity and Inclusion (D&I), to discuss

her work, and the challenges today’s leaders face.

“Common Purpose’s vision and mission, what we

are trying to do in society, which is to improve the

way society works by improving the capability of

leaders to lead better, to lead differently, to be able

to cross boundaries—I don’t think there was ever a

time in the world when this has been more relevant

than it is today,” she states.


Common Purpose was founded in 1989 by Julia

Middleton, who served as CEO of the charitable

trust, until Ms Sengupta took up the reins this


Business & Finance Quarterly Review Q4 2019


We’ve got to find the leaders who can

stand up, who want to be counted,

who are willing to have brave, bold,

courageous conversations

year. Middleton now drives new Common

Purpose initiatives as Innovation Officer.

“There has been so much wrapped up in the

founder’s vision, mission and values. It’s always got

its challenges when you take over from a founder,

both for the founder and the first generation CEO

but I think we’ve had a very exciting transition in

Common Purpose, because the founder and I had

worked together for many years and had our ups

and downs. I learned a lot from that relationship

and I’m hugely inspired by Julia,” Ms Sengupta says

of the transition.

“It’s such an exciting time to shape the next

chapter of the organisation. I’m lucky, that although

our founder is in a very different role, that we still

have her energy, her thinking and wisdom, still in

the organisation.”


“We’ve got over 85,000 alumni now across

the world. If you ask them what Common

Purpose means to them, I suspect they will all

say different things. Any kind of learning and

development opportunity touches different

people in different ways, no matter how we set it

up,” says Ms Sengupta.

“One of the things I think they will all say is

that it inspired them to be themselves as leaders,

differently to the way they saw themselves before

they worked with us. We give them connection,

and networks which are so vital in this day and

age. Even though social media is omnipresent,

you cannot replace the power of those deep and

meaningful networks that are created by different

people learning together. It is much more powerful,

but also much more turbulent, and therefore much

more needed in the current climate.”

She continues, “There are so many more things

that divide people these days than unite people,

which is a real shame, but that is the reality. We

can’t paper over the cracks. Whichever part of

the world you look at—Europe, UK, Asia, Africa,

US—that is an issue. We’ve got to a point in society

where we can’t run away from it. We’ve got to

find a way to work with that. We’ve got to find the

leaders who can stand up, who want to be counted,

who are willing to have brave, bold, courageous

conversations, in order to be able to cross those

boundaries, and make difference into a virtue,

rather than shy away from difference and make it

into a liability.”


The issue which Adirupa sees as being the next

big challenge to tackle head on is the divide

between different generations. Being careful

to point out that she doesn’t want to make a

sweeping generalisation, she still avers that there

are huge differences between how the young

and old come together—or don’t—in Eastern and

Western cultures.

“I can say that because I was born in India and

grew up there and I have spent the last 20 years

of my life in the West, out of the UK. I see it’s very

different,” she states, predicting, “This is going to

hit organisations and companies. If people need

to come together and collaborate it’s going to be

a big issue.”

“In any organisation or society, at any one time

you almost have three generations needing to work

together and that is a challenge. How do we make

sure we don’t lose the wisdom of the experienced

generation? There are so many parts of the world

where they feel like they are being overlooked

because they have reached a certain stage in their

life and career, and they still have a lot of value to

add. The economic situation requires of them that

they continue to be active, and yet they are starting

to feel marginalised in society and the community. If

we are not careful this could present itself as a macro

economic or societal divisions if we don’t deal with

some of these issues, and get people to be brave

enough to understand them and talk about them.”

For more information on the work of Common

Purpose, see commonpurpose.org n

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance


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Fostering sustainable economic growth

Many of today’s most profitable firms

have become adept at limiting the

extent to which they share their

outsized gains with workers and communities.

They’ve fissured their workplaces so that

only the workers in the branded, core firm

earn the highest wages, outsourcing as many

functions as possible and keeping the contracts

for outsourced work strict and cheap to push

down wages. They employ small armies of

accountants and lawyers to minimize their

tax liabilities. They lobby effectively to limit

regulations preventing them from polluting

our waterways and unsustainably exploiting

our natural resources.

To put the American Dream within reach of

most Americans and reverse rising inequalities

of income and wealth, the century-old

progressive policy agenda for which our

grandparents and great-grandparents fought

must be updated for the twenty-first century, to

collectively address the problem of economic

inequality across the income distribution—the

bottom, middle, and top—and recognize the power

of those with high incomes and wealth to subvert

political processes away from the common good.

There is no one magic policy solution; the path lies

in a comprehensive agenda focused on addressing

unbridled economic inequality and how it creates and

reinforces social and political inequities.


Like policymakers sought to do a century ago,

we must focus on removing obstructions with

policies that ensure widespread access to the

basics required to live a better life, such as highquality

childcare and preschool, well-funded public

schools, and infrastructure investments that ensure

the health of all, regardless of where one sits on

the income spectrum. Removing obstructions will

not only help people as individuals but boost our

economy and society more generally.

A basket of policies designed to remove obstacles to

social mobility will, however, serve as a band-aid more

than real solution unless we also address the ways

that inequality subverts both the market and our

democracy. Today’s high inequality gives some actors,

for instance, enormous political and economic power,

making it that much harder to implement a more

sustainable policy agenda. Concentrated economic

power subverts the institutions that manage the

market. This makes markets dysfunctional because

powerful corporations muscle competitors out

In her book Unbound:

How Inequality

Constricts Our

Economy and

What We Can Do

About It, Heather

Boushey examines

how economic

inequality affects

both consumer

demand and private

investment, making

a case for the

economic imperative

of equitable growth.

Heather Boushey, President,

Washington Center for

Equitable Growth

of business, suppress wages, and hobble

innovation. It also makes the political system

ineffective, as the wealthy dictate the terms

of our political system and we fail to invest in

public goods such as schools, transportation

infrastructure, and healthcare.

The overall effect of these subversions

and obstructions is a distortion of the

broader economy. Stagnant wages and

meager workplace benefits rob families

of buying power, undermining one of the

key drivers of economic growth—the stable

incomes that drive consumer spending.

A savings glut among the super-wealthy

pushes their capital toward rent-seeking

and expanding the credit supply, rather

than the productivity-enhancing

investments we need.

In order to improve absolute upward

mobility, we need to address inequality—and

its obstructions, subversions, and distortions—headon.

This means that policymakers must do more to

ensure that economic incentives push the economy

toward the most socially useful purposes, that

competition is real, and that government has the

resources and power to act on behalf of the many,

not just elites. These challenges may be the biggest

ones inequality poses for our political system, as

well as the most imperative to fix. Only then can we

fix the economic distortions inequality causes.

We can implement an agenda to revitalize income

and well-being across the economic spectrum and

strengthen the economy. Time and time again,

both democracy and the market economy have

delivered vast improvements in living standards.

To deliver on their promises, both require a high

degree of inclusiveness, and institutions and rules

that balance the power of economic interests. While

the competitive marketplace can contain economic

inequality, it does not do so automatically. If some

people can grab even just a little extra market power,

that can set the stage for the erosion of competition,

the unchecked pursuit of rent-seeking, and the

shattering of any cap on rising income and power at

the top.

To enact these changes, we need to revise

our thinking about the economy and the role of

inequality. One important—and relatively simple—

step is to measure the success of the economy

differently so that citizens understand how

economic growth affects them directly. At present,

we tend to rely on one measure: gross domestic

product (GDP), an aggregate measure of what the

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance





Arthur Cox is pleased to

announce the appointment

of Geoff Moore as its next

Managing Partner.

He succeeds Brian O’Gorman who

returns to full-time practice as a

corporate partner having served

two terms as Managing Partner.



nation produces. It’s a very useful number to track,

but it does not measure how the fruits of production

are shared or say anything about human well-being

more broadly. Fortunately, economists have been

working on alternatives.


Measuring whether our economy delivers broadly

shared growth starts with disaggregating our

national income accounts, which allow us to

calculate GDP, the sum total of all the goods and

services produced within the nation’s borders. In

America these data were first put together in the

1930s to help policymakers understand the Great

Depression. US national income statistics were

published in 1942. These accounts, specifically

developed to help the United States effectively

marshal its economic resources to fight in World War

II, are what we have used since to tabulate GDP. Once

the National Accounts were developed, they swiftly

became the standard way for policymakers across the

globe to measure growth.

In the early 1960s, the member countries

of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation

and Development (OECD) adopted aggregate

GDP as a standard to compare economic growth

across all countries, making this the preferred

metric of success. As one scholar makes clear in a

history of the OECD, GDP was at the center of the

organization’s defining goal of economic growth,

which led one of its most influential directors

to describe it as “a kind of temple of growth for

industrialized countries.” The OECD’s position

as a club of the biggest economic players in the

world helped cement GDP as a globally pervasive

measure of social well-being—and GDP growth as a

societal goal. Policymakers needed a simple, widely

understood metric and GDP fit the bill.

Yet the National Accounts and, in particular,

aggregate GDP reveal nothing about whether growth

is broadly shared and whether more people are

reaching the American Dream. This makes GDP

ill-suited to help policymakers address today’s

challenges. As Jason Furman, a professor of the

practice of economic policy at Harvard University and

former chair of the White House Council of Economic

Advisers in the Obama administration, recently

argued, policymakers’ goal should be to deliver

broadly shared economic gains, not simply growth.

Fortunately, there are a number of economists in

the United States and around the world pursuing a

new, path-breaking idea that addresses one of the

key flaws in national income accounts—the lack of

connection to ordinary people’s well-being. This

does not address all the problems, but it provides a

pathway to significant improvement. It opens the

door to a new conversation about economic progress.


goal should

be to deliver

broadly shared


gains, not

simply growth.


For the United States, a team of scholars—Thomas

Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman—have

been doing the hard work of matching survey data

and administrative records to the National Accounts

data in order to show how income growth looks

across income groups. They call these Distributional

National Accounts, and the three have created the data

to show disaggregated US economic growth going

back to 1913. They focus on national income, which

is closely related to GDP but adjusts for the decline

in value of the capital stock and certain international

transactions. The striking trend is how much of total

national income goes to those at the top of the income

ladder and how the share of national income accruing

to them has grown since the late 1970s.

These scholars’ work on Distributional National

Accounts provides policymakers and economists with

a better way of understanding economic growth—

one that directly connects the analysis of aggregate

economic data with the real-life circumstances of


Gabriel Zucman explained this research is part of

the larger project which is “an attempt at bridging

the gap between macroeconomics, on the one

hand, and inequality studies on the other hand.” If

policymakers could track this data alongside the GDP

data each quarter, then there would be no question

why Americans feel that the economy is on the

wrong track. When they learned, for instance, that in

the fourth quarter of 2018 GDP grew by 2.2 percent,

they would also know who in the United States

took home those gains. Policymakers and the public

would then be able to understand how these gains

or lack of gains look for families. When it comes to

governing, the question isn’t just whether GDP is

growing, whether the stock market is growing, or

whether unemployment is down, but rather what

is happening up and down the income distribution

and in communities across the country. This gives

policymakers the right set of metrics to measure

what matters. As Zucman told me, “there’s a growing

demand from the public everywhere around the

world for this type of distribution of national accounts.

People realize that it’s not enough to know GDP is

growing—they want to know how income is growing

for people like them.”

About the author: Heather Boushey is the President

& CEO and co-founder of the Washington Center

for Equitable Growth, which was launched in 2013.

She is one of America’s most influential voices on

economic policy and a leading economist who

focuses on the intersection between economic

inequality, growth, and public policy.

Credit: Abridged extract courtesy of Heather

Boushey/ Harvard University Press. n

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance





The current wave of activism will have to be translated into

an organised political movement, writes Daron Acemoglu.

40 Business & Finance Quarterly Review Q4 2019


The increase of greenhouse-gas emissions

(GHGs) in the atmosphere has caused average

global surface temperatures to rise by almost

1°C over the past century. There is no doubt in

the scientific community that these changes

are a direct consequence of human activity.

Yet it seems increasingly unlikely that we will

be able to reduce GHG emissions sufficiently

to halt and then reverse global warming.

The costs of this failure—rising sea levels, mass population

displacement, more frequent extreme weather events, and the

spread of new infectious diseases—are expected to be catastrophic,

even without considering the truly apocalyptic “tail risks” identified

by the late Martin Weitzman of Harvard University. And many of the

costs will be borne by today’s young people.

Given this, could the “school strike for climate,” an international

movement of students and youth activists, be the solution? Yes and

no. The world—particularly the United States – needs a wake-up call.

Our false sense of comfort—encouraged by disingenuous narratives

about geoengineering or other technological silver bullets – needs

to be shattered. Marshaling robust responses to massive collective

challenges has always required sustained engagement by citizens

and civil society.

But social transformation also requires new laws, norms, and

incentives. Without meaningful legislation, businesses and

individuals will not change their ways. And without the emergence of

new norms, business will always find ways to circumvent new laws.

Legislation and norms therefore must work in tandem to establish

new long-lasting incentives.

The outrage expressed by today’s young climate activists could

drive a change in global norms. But the current wave of activism will

have to be translated into an organised political movement to rival the

power of the fossil-fuel industry, perhaps by merging with or taking

over existing Green parties. The challenge for activists is to elevate

climate concerns above all other issues, so that people will support

policies to reduce GHG emissions regardless of their other economic,

social, and cultural priorities. Only then can the issue’s political center

of gravity shift.

As matters stand, the current youth movement’s biggest weakness

is that it lacks a coherent agenda for decarbonizing economic

production. In fact, many young activists regard markets and

economic growth as part of the problem. After all, the fossil-fuel

industry has long appealed to free-market principles when lobbying

against carbon taxes and regulation.

But the market could be a powerful weapon for fighting climate

change. In fact, there is no reason to think that economic growth

must be a casualty of climate action. An appropriately high carbon tax

would set a predictable price for the damage that carbon-intensive

economic activities inflict on humanity, thereby encouraging firms

and households to shift away from carbon-emitting activities. And

by signaling that carbon is a major environmental threat, a tax would

serve the dual function of encouraging normative change.

If a carbon tax is to be effective, however, it would need to be set much

higher than the current rate in many countries, which is based on an

implicit price of $30-50 per ton of CO2. And even then, policymakers

and climate activists will need to go further. While a tax will encourage

firms to seek cleaner energy sources, it is not a sufficiently powerful

trigger for the development of alternative low-carbon technologies.

As such, carbon taxes should be supplemented with well-designed

“green subsidies” to firms and researchers developing wind, solar, and

geothermal technologies, and to those working on new ways to limit

emissions from existing technologies.

Like carbon taxes, green subsidies harness the power of the

market. It is no coincidence that most of the major technological

breakthroughs of the twentieth century—antibiotics, computer

technology, the Internet, nanotechnology—came from governments

guiding and creating markets. While government-funded research and

subsidies were instrumental in shaping incentives, little would have

been achieved without the private sector. To see what state support

without a robust market mechanism looks like, consider the disastrous

experience of the Soviet Union throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

Finally, today’s young climate activists should not presume that

humanity’s future on this planet depends on stopping or severely

curtailing economic growth. A transition to a low-carbon economy

certainly will require sacrifices. (Claims that a “Green New Deal” can

both reduce emissions and boost employment in the short run are

not credible.) But, ultimately, economic growth can benefit from welldesigned

green policies. Moreover, policies to tackle climate change

may not be sustainable in the absence of growth, given that economic

hardship can diminish the public’s support for far-reaching reforms.

Nonetheless, the future of growth cannot rest on producing evermore

manufactured goods. Our task is to find better, more creative,

and less resource-intensive ways to meet the diverse needs of

more than seven billion people. Once the transition to a cleaner

economy is accomplished, growth can continue without adding to

our climate footprint.

The climate activists are right to work toward a shared understanding

about the need for better ways to produce and consume energy. But,

more to the point, we need economic growth itself to continue – and

not only to maintain political support for a green policy agenda. In a

world where more than one billion people still live in extreme poverty,

and where billions more aspire to a higher standard of living, a realistic

promise of shared growth will be far more compelling than calls for a

halt to economic progress.

We owe today’s young activists a huge debt for sounding the alarm.

Now, we need to turn their enthusiasm into an institutionalised

political force, and develop a blueprint for a potent, well-designed, and

productive economic agenda. Markets need not stand in our way. On

the contrary, they could be a powerful ally.

About the author: Daron Acemoglu, Professor of Economics at MIT,

is co-author (with James A. Robinson) of The Narrow Corridor: States,

Societies, and the Fate of Liberty. n

Carbon taxes should be supplemented with well-designed “green subsidies”

to firms and researchers developing wind, solar and geothermal technologies

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance




The Business and Finance Awards Programme was established in 1974.

Over the past 45 years it has become the longest running and most coveted

business awards programme in Ireland.

This prestigious awards programme has celebrated the outstanding

achievements of some of the most outstanding business leaders of our time.

A key theme this year will be ‘FDI in Ireland’ with a special award made on

the night to IDA Ireland.


For information or table bookings:

Susan Scannell

+ 353 1 2377023




Leading through challenge and change

Business & Finance releases its annual CEO 100 Index, a listing of the leaders at the forefront of the Irish business

landscape, navigating uncertainty and disruption, innovating and inspiring.

As 2019 draws to a close, it

is our pleasure to once

again curate and release

the annual Business

& Finance CEO 100

Index. The Index

is an in-depth and impartial look at

the best-performing CEOs leading

businesses in Ireland today and

across 2019 and we take great pride

in making sure that this Index is a

broad representation of excellence

in Irish business, taking in disruptors,

innovators and visionary leaders.

It is never an easy task to compile,

such is the strength of leadership and world

class companies operating on these shores.

There are more than 100 who would be

worthy , and we have selected but a small

sample to profile here, to give a flavour

of the variety, the experience and the

talent operating in the Irish business


Over the coming weeks we

will be exoanding our coverage

to encompass the full Index,

with profiles of the 100 business

leaders published on www.

businessandfinance.com Looking

ahead to 2019 we can only predict that

the quality and calibre of the business

leaders of tomorrow will continue to

become world leaders and we look forward

to continuing our journey alongside them. n



Anne Heraty is Chief Executive of Cpl Resources

plc. Anne established Computer Placement Limited

(CPL) with Keith O’Malley in 1989, to place staff in the

nascent IT sector in Ireland. She became the first Irish

woman to run a plc when CPL listed on AIM in London.

Cpl Resources plc. is Ireland’s largest recruitment

agency and a global provider of staffing, recruitment, training and outsourcing

services. It is recognised as a leader in permanent and temporary recruitment.

Cpl is headquartered in Ireland and over the years has expanded its network, and

now operates with 23 brands spanning the whole spectrum of talent acquisition,

operating from 41 offices in 11 countries across Europe and the USA, including

Britain, central and Eastern Europe, and recent openings in Boston and Munich .

The firm also helps global businesses establish a recruitment strategy that matches

their needs.All of these capabilities place Cpl as a global leader in the talent sector.

Anne holds a BA degree in Mathematics and Economics from University College

Dublin, and started her career as a telesales worker at Xerox, and then moved

to Grafton Recruitment before setting up her own company. Together with her

husband, Paul Carroll, CPL’s business development director, the couple owns about

35 per cent of the group that the businesswoman co-founded three decades ago.

CPL’s latest earnings report this year, on September 10th, showed that its pretax

profit soared by 33 per cent to €25 million, outstripping an 8 per cent rise in

revenues to €565 million. Businesses in the recruitment and outsourcing sector are

benefitting from persistent skills shortages in some key sectors, such as technology

and pharmaceuticals.




















Cubic Telecom





Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance





Brendan McAtamney was appointed Group Chief

Executive Officer of UDG Healthcare in 2016, having

previously served as the Group’s Chief Operating Officer.

Mr. McAtamney has been with UDG Healthcare since 2013.

Prior to joining the company, Brendan held various senior

management positions with Abbott, as Vice President Commercial and Corporate

Officer within the Established Pharmaceuticals division.

Mr. McAtamney holds a BSc from Maynooth and an MBA from UCD which bolster his

extensive industry experience.

Formed in Ireland in 1948, as United Drug, UDG was in the main a distribution company

until 2000. UDG Healthcare has evolved extensively over the past 20 years, in large part

due to M&A activity and internationalisation. The company has completed 14 deals and

deployed $500m since 2012. A significant portion of UDG’s earnings come from the US part

of its business. Operating in 25 countries, with over 9,000 staff, UDG has a €2.4bn market


Mr. McAtamney has set out a vision for the future where UDG Healthcare continues

to drive underlying organic growth and supplement it with acquisitions that transform

their breadth of services and geographic diversity. He plans for continued investment in

the areas of talent, systems, and infrastructure, to ensure they have the right platform

to support their continued future growth. In 2018, UDG Healthcare made continued

progress towards its strategic priorities. This contributed to the good financial results

and solid growth achieved during the year. The group has continued to improve,

transform and grow its suite of client services, and deliver sustainable long-term returns

for shareholders.



Carolan Lennon has been with eir since 2010. In that

time, she has held a number of senior positions within

the company. From 2016 she was managing director

of Open eir, the company’s networks and wholesale

division where she oversaw the rollout of fibre

broadband to 300,000 homes across rural Ireland and managed eir’s largest team.

Prior to joining eir, Ms. Lennon held senior positions within the telecoms

industry with Vodafone Ireland. She holds an MBA from Trinity College, Dublin and

a Bachelor of Science from U.C.D.

Ms. Lennon took up the appointment to CEO of eir, the first time the position

was assumed by a woman, in 2018. Under her leadership, the company underwent

a redundancy programme in 2018 which was followed by a recruitment drive to

on-board new hires in Sligo, Limerick and Cork in an effort to take the company’s

customer service operations in-house. This recruitment drive was completed in

2019 and is already showing positive results.

Carolan Lennon is a Non-Executive Director of AIB Group plc and the Irish

Management Institute. Ms. Lennon is also a former Non-Executive Director of the

DIT Foundation, which leverages funds and resources for future generations of



Bank of America Ireland


JP Morgan












Moy Park








Irish Distillers






An Post


OHM Group






BNP Paribas








Business & Finance Quarterly Review Q4 2019




Colin Hunt is marking a year since his appointment to

the top role at the Big Four bank. The Waterford man

spent his summer holidays working as an intern at his

local branch as a young man, so this is somewhat of a ‘full

circle’ moment for him. An internal candidate, he was

chosen to succeed Bernard Byrne, who left to join Davy stockbrokers.

Mr Hunt first joined the bank in September 2016 as managing director of

wholesale and institutional banking. Prior to this he was with heading up the Irish

operation for Australian banking group Macquarie. A former chief economist at

Goodbody Stockbrokers, at a time when it was part of AIB Capital Markets, Mr Hunt

also previously held the role of special adviser to former ministers for finance and

transport, including Brian Cowen.

Conscious of the sustainability agenda, under his steer, the bank has already

announced several initiatives in this area, including its sponsorship of Ireland’s

second Climate Finance Week in November, and its publication of annual

sustainability reports. AIB has also committed to making €5bn of funding available to

support Ireland’s transition to a lower-carbon economy.

He recently stated, “We will seek to do more and more and more with every passing

quarter and every passing year, to work with our customers to help them transition

to a lower-carbon economy. But, also, we’re very internally focused on doing what we

can to ensure that our impact on the planet is minimalised.”



Former GPA executive Dómhnal Slattery has 30

years’ experience in the aircraft leasing industry.

Dómhnal has built Avolon to be a global leader in aircraft

leasing through a period of private equity ownership,

a successful listing on the NYSE; and, a take private

with Bohai Leasing when he sold leading global aircraft leasing company Avolon to

Chinese firm Bohai for €1.2bn in 2015, and stayed on in the top role.

In 1989, Dómhnal began his aviation financing career, initially in marketing roles

with Guinness Peat Aviation (GPA) and GECAS. In 1994, he established his own

aircraft advisory and investment banking services company, International Aviation

Management Group (IAMG). In 2001 The Royal Bank of Scotland Group acquired

IAMG as the launch platform of RBS Aviation Capital, paying €45m for the concern.

Dómhnal was Chief Executive of this business from 2001 to 2004 and went on to

become Managing Director of the Structured Asset Finance business for the Royal

Bank of Scotland Group. He continued as a non-executive Director of RBS Aviation

Capital until January 2008.

Dómhnal has a Bachelor of Commerce (Hons) from University College Galway and

is a graduate of the Accelerated Development Programme from the London Business





Trilogy Tech


Kerry Group




Glen Dimplex


Depfa Bank


Bank of Ireland




Grafton Group






Top Oil




Circle K








Sky Ireland









Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance











How it How works: it works:

How it works:



Download Download the Circle the K Circle app K app

or pick


up or pick a form up


in-store a form



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Kerry Group

Edmond joined Kerry in 1996 through the graduate

programme from University College Cork. He

performed several roles before relocating to the US in

2004, including three years in Commercial Financial

Management for the Consumer Foods business.

On arrival to the US, he was ultimately promoted to VP Finance, Supply Chain and

Operations of Kerry’s Global Flavours Division in 2004. In 2007, he was appointed

Vice President Mergers & Acquisitions, Kerry Americas Region, before being

appointed Global President Kerry Functional Ingredients & Actives in late 2008.

In 2012, he was appointed President of Kerry China, prior to his appointment as

President & CEO Kerry Asia-Pacific region in November 2013. He was appointed

interim chief executive in February 2017, returning to Ireland after 14 years abroad,

and officially took over from Stan McCarthy in October of the same year.

Kerry reported 3.1% growth in overall business volumes for the nine month period

to end September, with volumes in its Taste and Nutrition up by 3.9% while its

Consumer Foods division slowed by 0.7%. The company said its revenues for the

nine months rose by 10%, buoyed up by global consumer trends such as clean label,

authentic taste, plant-based diets, healthfulness, convenience and sustainability

which continue to generate increased innovation opportunities.

Mr Scanlon commented “We enjoyed strong growth in developing markets, as

we further deploy our technology and continue our strategic footprint expansion,”

adding, “We continued to make strategic acquisitions, and good progress has been

made on the integration of acquisitions completed over the last 12 months which are

performing well.”



Ger Rabbette, an industry veteran, joined the team

at Uniphar in 2010 coming from Celesio, where he was

Managing Director of Movianto and Head of Celesio

Manufacturing Solutions. He is a Chartered Accountant

by training and has held a range of senior positions in

supply chain with Cahill May Roberts and the wider Celesio Group. He was appointed

Chief Executive Officer in 2010.

When Mr. Rabbette came onboard, it was with a view of turning around Uniphar’s

fortunes as the industry was still recovering from the economic downturn and price

cuts instigated by the HSE. Uniphar was also trying to recover from a €98 million

writedown in 2008 on the value of scores of pharmacies.

Uniphar floated on the stock market in July of this year raising €135 m on its initial

IPO. The group generated revenue of €1.55 billion, gross profit of €1596m and EBITDA

of €46.3m on a pro forma basis, in 2018.

This summer the company completed the acquisition of Durbin, a leading specialist

medical supplier which has facilities in the UK and United States. This acquisition,

which was completed ahead of schedule, ensures that Uniphar is well placed to

become a global leader in the provision of product access solutions to speciality

pharmaceutical organisations. To further support the group’s expansion, Mr. Rabbette

has plans to expand into the Nordic market over the coming months. The company

has also set a goal of doubling its 2018 pro forma Group EBITDA of €46m over the

next 5 years.


Ergo Group




Enterprise Ireland




Dunnes (W)








IDA Ireland


Institute of Directors






Cairn Homes








Failte Ireland




Tullow Oil


Digiweb & Viatel Ireland


Flutter Entertainment plc


Pallas Foods

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance


Searching for your dream job?

Let’s make it happen.

Ready to take the next step in your career?

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Get in touch to find out how we can help you find your dream job:

Contact: +353 87 7888137 stephen.mullin@cpl.ie




Margaret Sweeney has been CEO of I-RES REIT since

November 2017, where she has also been an Executive

Board Director since March 2016. During her tenure, Ms.

Sweeney has seen revenue from investment properties

increase from €44.7m to €50.6m in 2018 and profits

from €65.1m to €119.8m over the same period.

She qualified as a chartered accountant with KPMG in 1985, and has since held

a number of senior positions including Chief Executive Officer of daa plc (Dublin

Airport Authority), Chief Executive Officer and board director of Postbank Ireland

Limited and as a Director in Audit and Advisory Services at KPMG.

Ms. Sweeney is also chair of Irish Institutional Property, a new association founded

to support the professionalisation and development of sustainable real estate

investment in Ireland. Its members include other large real estate companies such as

Dalata Hotel Group PLC, Hibernia REIT, Kennedy Wilson, Glenveagh Properties PLC

and more.

Ms. Sweeney is passionate about promoting and supporting women in leadership.

Ms. Sweeney was founding chair of Women for Election for five years and supported

the setup of its Countess Markievicz Circle. She is President of the International

Women’s Forum Ireland chapter, having also been a member for over ten years. Ms.

Sweeney is also a member of IWF global President’s Council.

She is also a member of Council of Chartered Accountants Ireland and Chairs the

Members Board. She is Chair of DCU Business School Advisory Board.



Tommy Kelly founded eShopWorld in 2010. The

company is part-owned by Mr. Kelly and Asendia, a joint

venture between French postal operator, La Poste, and

SwissPost. Mr. Kelly is veteran of the logistics industry,

he established a successful forwarding and logistics

company with his brother Joe in 1987, named Two Way Forwarding & Logistics. Mr.

Kelly was CEO and Managing Director of Two Way until the company was acquired

by Aramex in 2006. Mr. Kelly held the position of CEO at Aramex, Europe & North

America until 2014 when he became Chief Executive Officer of eShopWorld.

eShopWorld powers global eCommerce growth for leading retail brands across

industries, from apparel and footwear to cosmetics and sporting equipment. The

company’s powerful technology platform and extensive logistics network opens

up over 200 global markets and delivers a hyper-localised experience to shoppers

on behalf of the world’s most popular retail brands. The company is a partner of

Facebook for brands advertising on the social network allowing them to reach more

shoppers internationally.

Revenues are set to increase by approximately €130m, or 30-35% in 2019, with

an increase in headcount to 350 (+100 year-on-year). A number of significant

projects have been completed, including a move from a monolith infrastructure

to a microservices infrastructure, and a series of client specific growth initiatives.

eShopWorld has also successfully onboarded a significant number of new clients

in 2019.




KBC Bank


Eaton Corp


3 Ireland


Korn Ferry


Total Produce






Adapt Pharma


Shorla Pharma








Bid X1


Grafton Recruitment


Aviva Life






Virgin Media






Smurfit Kappa

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance




Ireland has the opportunity to

capture a leading role at the

forefront of blockchain innovation,

writes Lory Kehoe.



50 Business & Finance Quarterly Review Q4 2019


Gaining a foothold in disruptive technologies

such as blockchain, machine learning and

artificial intelligence will be imperative to

Ireland’s sustained economic growth

I’ve worked in strategy and operations

consulting in both financial services and

technology, for over 13 years. Never in all

this time have I worked with a technology

as profoundly impactful as blockchain.

Blockchain’s ability to automate processes

through acting as the golden source of

data has led to the technology being adopted by

governments, industry sectors and businesses

around the world.

Blockchain essentially has the ability to link up

all points along a value chain and provide a single,

immutable source of truth; this allows for the

disintermediation of processes, and can enhance

security and speed while reducing costs. Smart

contracts within the blockchain allow for the

automatic programming of actions once specified

criteria are met, such as the release of funds in

escrow to a home seller once all the conditions and

documentation of the deal are executed.

The multitude of enterprise and social benefits

of blockchain or ‘Web 3’ solutions, as well as the

associated high value jobs that they bring has

sparked intense competition amongst countries

such as Australia, France, Germany, Israel, UK and

Switzerland to become the global leader for the

technology. As we enter the future of work, gaining

a foothold and a niche in disruptive technologies

such as blockchain, machine learning and artificial

intelligence will be imperative to Ireland’s

sustained economic growth.


This year has brought some momentous gains for

blockchain in Ireland, including the launch of the

Blockchain Masters (MSc.) level programme in

Dublin City University (DCU). However, as a nation,

we have a lot further to go if we want to compete

with the mounting global interest in this sector.

Cultivating a blockchain ecosystem here is central

to the work that I do with Blockchain Ireland

(www.blockchainireland.net). In May, we held the

first ‘Blockchain Ireland Week’ with over 50 free

events taking place nationwide. We are increasing

momentum, but we need to keep building on this.


As Forbes put it ‘Large Enterprises Are Betting On

Blockchain In 2019’. According to IDC, worldwide

spending on blockchain will reach $2.9 billion.

On a global level, hundreds of exciting projects

have kicked off across all major sectors—from

financial services and insurance, to supply chain

management and shipping, to healthcare and

pharma, as well as in trade finance.

IKEA announced recently that it has started using

blockchain to track and settle e-invoices along

its supply chain through smart contracts on the

Ethereum blockchain. And the World Wildlife Fund

also announced this year that, alongside ConsenSys,

it would launch a Philanthropy Platform, utilising

blockchain to modernise sustainable development

for individuals, companies and NGOs, with the

intention of furthering high-potential efforts

towards the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable

Development Goals (SDGs).

Gartner forecasts that blockchain will accelerate

towards more mainstream adoption through

2023 and by 2030 will generate $3.1 trillion in new

business value, and recommends that “organizations

should be exploring the technology now”. Most

cases in use operate under the mandate of enhancing

efficiency of existing processes as opposed to

business disruption and new value creation. This is

where I see Ireland’s opportunity to capture a leading

role at the forefront of this innovation.


Blockchain can also be used as a way to turn

illiquid or high value assets into digital assets, or

tokens as they are also known. For example, think

of an aircraft or a property, with the asset’s value

being represented as a set of digital assets (tokens)

which are held in a secure tamper-proof network.

This would make investing in the property more

accessible to a wider pool of investors and also

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance



enable greater liquidity by the fact that digital

shares can be exchanged without the underlying

property having to be sold. A World Economic

Forum report has predicted that around 10% of

global gross domestic product (GDP) is likely to be

stored on the blockchain by 2027.

Blockchain technology will be of great value to

Irish industry over the coming years. Taking the

pharma industry here as one example, blockchain

could be used to track and trace medical devices

such as stents, pacemakers and spinal support

screws, providing clarity for medical personnel and

consumers with a single source of truth for product

specifications and records of use. This would prove

invaluable in the case of a product recall. Similarly,

blockchain could entirely modernise supply chain

assurance in agriculture, particularly for our dairy

and livestock production sectors. A solution like

this could safeguard Ireland’s reputation as a

premier food producer internationally, by providing

transparency and data integrity. In the near future,

customers may be able to scan QR codes on

product packaging in retail outlets through their

phones, and access relevant quality and traceability



Blockchain offers consumers and businesses

a mechanism to streamline everything from

insurance, to supply chain management, data

ownership, and asset financing. Blockchain is

considered to be particularly suited to financial

services applications due to its automation

capabilities and auditability. The financial services

and digital tech industries are linchpins of the Irish

economy. The adoption of disruptive innovations


essentially has

the ability to

link up all the

points along a

value chain and

provide a single,


source of truth

within Ireland will be important to upholding

high value presence and growth of these sectors.

The willingness of political decision-makers to

maintain and enhance Ireland’s attractiveness

for new technologies and companies will also be

central to the build-out of the ecosystem here.

When I established ConsenSys’ presence in

Ireland and scaled it up to 45 team members, I had

developers leave higher paying jobs across the

spectrum of major tech players in Ireland to join

us. This is because they want to work building

the architecture for what many believe is the next

internet, or ‘Web 3’, at the vanguard of computer


About the author: Lory Kehoe is Managing Director

and Country Head of Ireland’s blockchain company,

ConsenSys. Upon establishing the Irish branch,

he grew it from 1 to 45 people in 18 months. Prior

to ConsenSys, Lory established Deloitte’s Europe

Middle East and Africa (EMEA) blockchain team,

championing Ireland as the right location to centre

this burgeoning industry. Advocating for Ireland

to grow its position as a global powerhouse for

disruptive technology is something that Lory is

immensely passionate about. Lory’s determination

in his vision for Ireland has steadfastly remained

front and centre throughout his career with Deloitte,

Accenture, and now ConsenSys, as well as his decade

plus of lecturing as an adjunct assistant professor

of Technology Trends, Strategic Management and

Information Systems in Trinity College Dublin. It was

this vision that compelled Lory to co-found Blockchain

Ireland alongside IDA Ireland, with the stated

objective of positioning Ireland as a leading location to

attract blockchain enterprise and related FDI. n

52 Business & Finance Quarterly Review Q4 2019


Automation and the Future of Work

The world of work is likely to see significant

change in the coming decade, driven by

improvements in robotics, machine learning and

artificial intelligence (AI). This will have a significant

impact on how workers, and the companies that

employ them, negotiate the jobs landscape over the

course of their careers.

A study undertaken by Oxford University forecast

that 47% of jobs would disappear over the next 25

years, whilst the McKinsey Global Institute advises that

almost every occupation has the potential for at least

partial automation. The idea of a single, life-long career

is rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

While developments such as AI hold potential for

substantial gains in productivity and national GDP, it

is not surprising that these messages are also causing

some concern. According to a report by Deloitte, 40%

of millennials believe automation threatens their jobs,

while 44% believe there will be less demand for their



It is a challenging environment. Those currently in

employment must try to predict how to future-proof

their careers, whilst companies need to assess how

best to develop their workforces to respond to these

changes. One only has to look at some of the most

popular current job titles–for example, social media

managers, user experience (UX) designers, data

scientists and SEO specialists—to realise that these jobs

did not exist ten or fifteen years ago.

One of the best ways to adapt is a commitment

to continued, life-long education. The European

Commission advises that skills continue to be the best

guarantor of social mobility and opportunity. However,

it is quick to point out that skills are not static. They

need to be updated throughout our working lives and

will be critical to the transitions modern workers will be

required to undertake throughout their careers.


Soft and transferable skills will remain of prime

importance in the new economy. The Government’s

Steven Roberts,

Head of Marketing,

Griffith College

Life-long learning

is the key to career

future-proofing in

a changing world,

writes Steven


Future Jobs Ireland 2019 report advises that

aptitudes in areas such as communication,

organisational skills and self‐motivation are key.

These are not specifically related to a particular

job, task or area of knowledge. As such, they

can provide a vital link when changing career or

industry sector. The report also highlights the

importance of creativity. Emotional intelligence

competencies are some of the most difficult to

replicate with technology.


Thankfully, there are steps businesses and

professionals can take to help navigate this

new ecosystem. For individuals, a first step is to

undertake an analysis of their current skill sets,

both technical skills and soft skills, to assess current

strengths and weaknesses. Part of this process will

require an analysis of the likely future requirements

of their current role—what skills will be in

demand in three to five years? Where gaps exist,

commitment to continued upskilling to address

these will be essential to survive and thrive.

For companies, it is important that a

commitment to enhancing transferable, soft

skills is built into training and development

programmes. This helps ensure a flexible and

adaptable workforce where employees are

well prepared to respond to changing industry

demands. Those that start now will generate

experience curve benefits over time.

The era of lifelong-jobs is passing, but those that

commit to continuous learning and upskilling will

have the flexibility and confidence to adapt to the

changes brought by increased automation and

machine learning.

About the author: Steven Roberts is head of

marketing at Griffith College. A certified data

protection officer and Fellow of the Chartered

Institute of Marketing, he is a membaer of IBEC’s

digital economy policy committee and the ACOI’s

data protection and information security working

group. For more, visit www.griffith.ie. n

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance






Recognising the success of the

companies and teams behind

Dublin’s position as a global

leader in Financial Services,

Business & Finance Media Group

are delighted to announce the

launch of the FS Dublin Awards, in

association with KPMG.

The FS Dublin Awards will recognise the

companies, teams and individuals who lead,

innovate and shape their organisations through

a commitment to excellence that has cemented

Dublin’s reputation as a global financial services hub

and the Gateway to Europe.

From its origins in the IFSC in 1987 and across

Dublin’s Docklands, Dublin’s financial services sector

has gone from strength to strength and now sits at

the core of one of the world’s largest industries. We

are the fourth largest provider of wholesale financial

services in the EU with over 400 international

institutions providing Financial Services to every

major economy in the world.

In 1989, the Irish financial services industry had

just one fund registered. Fast forward to today

and the industry now represents thousands of

highly-skilled jobs in hundreds of multinational

and indigenous companies, across a wide variety of

A new awards


excellence in

Financial Services

in Ireland

Partnership opportunities:

Brian Kearns

087 9138240



sectors including aircraft leasing, banking, insurance

and funds management. Indeed Ireland has

cemented its position as a centre of excellence for

the aircraft leasing industry with all of the top global

lessors located here.

The industry spreads to all corners of the country,

with Dublin as the main hub and operations

throughout Ireland from Letterkenny to Cork,

Galway to Kilkenny and Limerick to Waterford.

Earlier this year the Government unveiled its

new “Ireland for Finance” whole of Government

strategy for the further development of the

international financial services (IFS) sector

in Ireland. In formulating the strategy the

Government has taken account of current and

future developments while also exploring

potential challenges and opportunities, especially

the potential impact of technology, both positive

and negative. The vision of the strategy is for

Ireland to be a top‐tier location of choice for

specialist international financial services.

Recognising industry achievement at this level,

the FS Dublin Awards promises to be a valuable and

insightful event for the Financial Services sector.

The inaugural FS Dublin Awards in association with

KPMG, launching this December. n

54 Business & Finance Quarterly Review Q4 2019





Simon Scroope

Head of Corporate Banking


CJ Berry

Head of Syndicated

& International Finance


Hilary Gormley

Head of Business Banking


Finlay McFadyen

Head of Investment Banking


Donall O’Shea

Head of Real Estate Finance


Paul Travers

Head of Energy, Climate

Action & Infrastructure


Allied Irish Banks p.l.c., is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland

Is the Global Dollar

in Jeopardy?

New competition

faces the dollar as

the global standard,

writes Simon Johnson

Since the end of World War II, the

United States dollar has been

at the heart of international

finance and trade. Over the

decades, and despite the many

ups and downs of the global

economy, the dollar retained

its role as the world’s favorite

reserve asset. When times are

tough or uncertainty reigns,

investors flock to dollar‐denominated assets,

particularly US Treasury debt–ironically, even when

there is a financial crisis in the US. As a result, the

Federal Reserve—which sets US dollar interest rates

—has enormous sway over economic conditions

around the world.

For all the associated innovation evident since

the launch of the decentralized blockchain-based

currency Bitcoin in 2009, the arrival of modern

cryptocurrencies has had essentially zero impact on

the global taste for dollars. Promoters of these new

forms of money still have their hopes, of course, that

they can challenge the existing financial system, but

the impact on global portfolios has proved minimal.

The most powerful central banks (the Fed, the

European Central Bank, and a few others) are still

running the global money show.

Suddenly, however, there is a new, potentially

serious player in town: Facebook’s Libra initiative.

Facebook and a currently shifting coalition of firms

are planning to launch their own private form of

money that would, in some sense, be secured by

holdings of major currencies.

Without question, Libra could become a widely

used form of payment—partly because Facebook

has over two billion monthly active users, but

also because the existing financial system is full

of inefficiencies. If private money could make it

cheaper, easier, and safer to make payments, then

consumers would be happy to use it. Few people

care what is under the hood of the monetary engine;

most just want crash-proof transactions.

The unfortunate truth is that our current

payment system is expensive to run, including for

sending money overseas in the form of remittances

sent by workers back to their home countries. If

Libra could allow people to send money as easily

(and as cheaply!) as they post updates to Facebook,

the currency would get a lot of likes.

We have repeatedly experienced how quickly a

disruptive new digital technology can transform the

economic landscape. Think of how fast taxis came

under pressure from Uber and Lyft.

Bitcoin and its fellow crypto-travelers were

designed to supersede financial intermediaries,

such as banks. And, in theory, it would be possible

to organize much of finance without the kind of

banks and other intermediaries that currently exist.

56 Business & Finance Quarterly Review Q4 2019


We have repeatedly experienced

how quickly a disruptive new

digital technology can transform

the economic landscape

But as a matter of inconvenient reality, the cryptomarket

infrastructure that has developed can hardly

be described as consumer-friendly. It’s too easy to

lose your money or to have it stolen in myriad ways.

In contrast, Facebook represents a digital

technology company that knows how to keep

customers happy. Sure, people increasingly

complain about its privacy policies or attitudes

toward political speech, but they continue to

use the service. There is a potentially potent

combination lurking here: the rapid scale-up

of digital technology, a focus on cheaper safe

financial transactions, and a lack of concern for

legacy systems.

Of course, Libra has some obvious

disadvantages, including Facebook’s current

reputation for not acting in the public interest.

As a case study in public relations, it’s hard to

imagine how the past year could have been worse

for Libra’s prospects. And it is always possible

for leading countries to block a private form of

money by determining that it does not comply

with regulations, such as anti-money laundering

and Know Your Customer requirements.

But if Libra does not make progress, that just

opens more space for some other, more careful

corporate-backed entity. Or perhaps the challenge

will come from a currency issued by a sovereign

state, any of which is entitled to design and

circulate its own form of money.

For some time now, there has been speculation

that the Chinese renminbi could challenge or even

one day displace the US dollar as the world’s main

reserve currency. Perhaps, but it is not clear that we

are moving closer to that day, because it is not clear

that foreign investors will trust the Chinese political

system with their rainy-day funds.

Still, the Fed is right to be concerned, if not

worried. Growing potential competitive pressure–

the Libra effect–creates an incentive to make the

existing system work better, including through

the new FedNow system, which will speed up


In a recent speech, Fed Governor Lael Brainard

argued that the Fed will innovate, to a moderate

degree, and the dollar will be fine. She may be right.

But for the first time in a long while, competition

is coming to central banks. With a bit of luck,

consumers may end up with a better deal.

About the author: Simon Johnson, a former

chief economist of the IMF, is a professor at MIT

Sloan, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for

International Economics, and co-founder of a leading

economics blog, The Baseline Scenario. He is the

co-author, with Jonathan Gruber, of Jump-Starting

America: How Breakthrough Science Can Revive

Economic Growth and the American Dream. n

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance




21 - 23 APRIL





Exhibit at DTS20: partnerships@dublintechsummit.com



The car of the

future reduces stress

Reports suggest 74 per cent of

people admit to feeling stressed or

overwhelmed every day. For many

people, driving is a time when we turn

over problems and stresses in our minds. Now,

new technology being developed by Jaguar Land

Rover will use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to better

understand the driver’s mood and adjust the cabin

settings of the car accordingly, and potentially

reduce stress. Instead of arriving to a meeting or

home from work with the weight of the world on

your shoulders, you could emerge from your car

relaxed and refreshed.

The new mood-detection system is one of

a suite of technologies Jaguar Land Rover is

exploring as part of its ‘tranquil sanctuary’ vision

to improve the overall driving experience.

The technology uses a driver-facing camera

and biometric sensing to monitor and evaluate

the driver’s mood and adapt a host of cabin

features, including the heating, ventilation and air

conditioning system, media and ambient lighting.

The settings will be altered in response to the

driver’s facial expressions to help tackle stress.

The mood-detection system will use the latest

AI techniques to continually adapt to nuances

in the driver’s facial expressions and implement

appropriate settings automatically. In time the

system will learn a driver’s preference and make

increasingly tailored adjustments.

Personalisation settings could include

New AI technology

being developed by

Jaguar Land Rover

will understand

changes in the

driver’s mood when

behind the wheel

changing the ambient lighting to calming colours

if the system detects the driver is under stress,

selecting a favourite playlist if signs of weariness

are identified, and lowering the temperature in

response to yawning or other signs of tiring.

Jaguar Land Rover is also trialling similar

technology for rear passengers, with a camera

mounted in the headrest. If the system detects

signs of tiredness, it could dim the lights, tint the

windows and raise the temperature in the back,

to help an occupant get to sleep.

Dr Steve Iley, Jaguar Land Rover Chief Medical

Officer, said: “As we move towards a self-driving

future, the emphasis for us remains as much on the

driver as it ever has.

“By taking a holistic approach to the individual

driver, and implementing much of what we’ve

learnt from the advances in research around

personal wellbeing over the last 10 or 15 years, we

can make sure our customers remain comfortable,

engaged and alert behind the wheel in all driving

scenarios, even monotonous motorway journeys.”

Mood-detection software is the next-generation

of Jaguar Land Rover’s existing driver tracking

technology. The Driver Condition Monitor, which

is capable of detecting if a driver is starting to feel

drowsy and will give an early warning to take

a break, is already available on all Jaguar and

Land Rover vehicles. From 2020 all new Jaguar

Land Rover vehicles will offer the option of

electrification, for a sustainable future. n

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance


Congratulations to our Keepwell Mark companies

who are embracing employee health and wellbeing

in their organisations.

Boost your employer brand

with The KeepWell Mark



Digital adoption is critical to compete in the digital era

The digital era has changed consumer

expectations. Online consumers want

the same level of convenience from

their local SMEs that they get from

larger companies and suppliers. Our recently

published SME Digital Health Index 2019 research

shows over half of Irish consumers believe online

shopping will, at some point, supersede bricksand-mortar

stores. The survey found that Irish

consumers expect their local SMEs to provide the

same service levels as companies like Amazon.

It is critical that Irish businesses digitise to

meet these consumer preferences. While Irish

consumers are patriotic, 81% believe buying Irish

is important, in an age of digital convenience they

will not wait for their local high street businesses

to catch up, and 54% of consumers will shop with

a competitor if their preferred retailer isn’t online.

Targeted investment in digital is already

transforming regional economies. Over the

last two years, as part of our Digital Town

initiative, we’ve worked with communities

in Gorey and Sligo to highlight their digital

achievements and identify for businesses and

community organisations the digital tools they

need to further enhance their capabilities.

During September and October 2019, we held

eight events in Sligo. These included: Digital

Tools, where SMEs learnt first-hand how

to use a number of digital tools to improve

business efficiency and productivity, helping

them to save time and money; and two

digital storytelling and learning events where

successful businesses shared their digital

experiences and insights. This hands‐on

learning approach has been hugely beneficial to

inspire those SMEs who are starting out on their

own digital journeys.

It is critical that

Irish businesses

digitise to meet

changing consumer

preferences, writes

David Curtin.

David Curtin, CEO,

IE Domain Registry

Pictured above: At the

Digital Town 2019 Closing

Ceremony are Phil Prentice,

Chief Officer, Scotland’s

Towns Partnership; Oonagh

McCutcheon, Customer

Operations Manager, IE

Domain Registry; David

Curtin, CEO, IE Domain

Registry; Bobby Kerr,


E-commerce is worth €12.3 billion to the Irish

economy1. Yet, according to our SME Digital

Health Index 2019 research, only 32% of SMEs

with a website can take sales orders or process

transactions such as taking bookings and

reservations through it. We are highly motivated

to change that over time and promote the power

of digital through our initiatives, such as Digital

Town and OPTIMISE.

The OPTIMISE programme empowers small

businesses to improve their online presence, hone

their digital capabilities and grow their e-commerce

ability. Each participant undergoes a focussed

digital health check and receives a detailed report

outlining recommendations, so the participants

have a roadmap for improving their online presence

and e-commerce capability. We work directly with

sectoral organisations, such as the Design & Crafts

Council of Ireland, Retail Excellence and the Royal

Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI). They

are best positioned to understand the challenges

and opportunities faced by their members and to

select the participants. Over the last seven years, we

have worked with 170 small and micro businesses

to plan, develop and implement significant web

enhancements and e-commerce capabilities of their

existing websites.

Businesses that invest in digital skills and assets

benefit financially: 72% of SMEs with a website say

being online and digitally savvy has helped increase

awareness of their business and 73% of SMEs say

their websites contribute to their offline or ‘faceto-face’

sales, according to our SME Digital Health

Index. A third believe that their online presence

has led to increased revenue. The benefits of digital

adoption for businesses are clear.

For further information on our research and

programmes, visit www.iedr.ie n

1Wolfgang Digital 2018 Irish Online Economy Report

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance



The global



A look into the

year ahead, and

the transactional

appetite in the


Ai Al Wong, Global

Transactions Leader,

Baker McKenzie

Macro-economic and geopolitical

uncertainty has put somewhat of a

dampener on dealmaking and IPO

activity across the world over the past

year, and expert predictions forecast a

similar pattern emerging in the year ahead.

“That doesn’t mean transactions activity has

stopped altogether—far from it,” states Ai Al Wong,

Global Transactions Leader at Baker McKenzie, “as

there have been bursts of activity this year and there

will be again next year, arising from either strategic or

tactical corporate decision making.”

Although M&A market and IPO activity slowed

down modestly during 2019, outliers to the overall

trend included the US and South East Asia. However,

Ms Wong predicts, “Overall global transactions

activity in 2020 will decline further, given likely

further turbulence in the global economy and

renewed volatility in equity markets. The upcoming

US presidential elections will also add an additional

challenge to investment sentiment in that market and


No cloud comes without a silver lining for some

and for those with the necessary capital and creative,

opportunistic thinking, the market will present good

value. Ms Wong continues, “A volatile global market

will also create opportunities, particularly for private

equity investors as they look to unleash some of their

‘dry powder’ to tap into available deal opportunities.

And for the best companies disruption will also drive

transactions rather than stalling. These companies

will still find deals to acquire capabilities, reshape

portfolios, and accelerate growth.”

Ultimately, an upturn is imminent, as she points out,

“Beyond 2020, medium-term drivers of transaction

are more positive. The economy will be on an upswing

and a recovering market will provide opportunities for

growth and transactions.”

Global GDP growth is expected to fall around 2.5% in

2019, from 3.2% in 2018, making this year the slowest

since the financial crisis of 2008-9. Forecasts also

project that M&A value will decline globally from $2.8

trillion in 2019 to $2.1 trillion in 2020 with a downward

trend in IPO proceeds from an estimated $152 billion

in 2019 to $116 billion, a 23% drop. According to

Baker McKenzie’s Global Transactions Forecast 2020,

produced in conjunction with Oxford Economics,

macro indicators are expected to improve from 2021,

as the global economy will stabilise, financial market

volatility will subside, and a weakening dollar will

improve liquidity. This should lay the foundation for a

gradual rebound in M&A activity.


Ireland’s mergers and acquisitions (M&A) market

is forecast to total US$7.8bn in 2020, assuming an

“orderly” Brexit process, according to the Global

Transactions Forecast. According to the global law

firm, the near-term path for the Irish economy

depends crucially on Brexit, with a “no-deal” scenario

constituting a significant downside risk to M&A


Ireland placed sixth globally in 2019 with total

M&A value amounting to US$74.6bn ahead of major

economies such as Germany and France, largely the

result of a single deal as Takeda moved to buy Irelandheadquartered

pharma group Shire for US$60bn.

Elsewhere two of the most valuable deals

announced this year that involved Irish entities

included the Johnson Controls International PLC

(Cork) completion with a Dutch Auction self-tender

to repurchase shares amounting to US$4bn and

Ingersoll-Rand PLC’s (Swords) acquisition of Accudyne

Industries LLC for US$1.45bn.

The forecasted plunge in the value of M&A

involving Irish entities from US$74.6BN to US$7.8bn

in 2020 highlights the outsized impact of large US,

corporate transactions on the Irish data.

62 Business & Finance Quarterly Review Q4 2019


If the UK

leaves the EU

in a disorderly

fashion it

will trigger a

wider negative

response in

financial markets

In the case of a no-deal Brexit the number and value

of M&A deals in Ireland would fall a further 24% in

2020 as Tim Gee, M&A partner at Baker McKenzie

explains: "The economic impact of no deal would be

felt most keenly through disruptions to trade flow

due to the need for border checks, the knock-on effect

to the cost of living and consumer spending, and cuts

to business investment. Our forecast indicates M&A

values in Ireland could fall by 24% in 2020, down

from US$7.8bn to US$5.9bn, in a cliff-edge scenario


United States Recessionary Periods

versus a soft Brexit, as firms postpone key strategic

decisions amidst the uncertainty."

“If the UK leaves the EU in a disorderly fashion it

will trigger a wider negative response in financial

markets, with the UK and to a lesser extent Eurozone

asset prices hit hardest. There is a major impact on

the UK and Ireland in particular and to a lesser extent,

other European economies, which is also reflected

in lower transactional activity. Global impacts are

generally limited.” n


Private Equity Role in Global Dealmaking











Bond markets have been flashing recession

warnings for the US economy. Two-year and 10-year

US Treasury bond yields inverted this year for

the first time since June 2007. Historically, such

movements have proved a highly reliable indicator

of a recession within the next year or so. However,

their predictive power is debatable, as the Federal

Reserve’s recent bond purchases may have distorted

price signals.


Europe M&A Activity

The proportion (by value) of PE involvement on either

the buy- or sell-side of M&A has flattened off at around

30% in 2017-19, having moderated from a peak of 36%

in 2016. This may be an indication that PE firms are

increasingly uncomfortable with deal multiples close

to historic highs, amid stiff competition for targets. On

the IPO side, rich valuations present an incentive to

sell assets, but PE exits slowed this year following the

equity market declines experienced at the end of 2018.

Source: Baker McKenzie Global Transactions Forecast 2020


World Domestic IPO











European M&A activity has been slowing in 2019, with

Brexit the problem closest to Irish shores. However,

some notable deals did close during the year, such as

Irish pharmaceutical company Shire, which sold for

USD 60 billion to Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical.

Source: Baker McKenzie Global Transactions Forecast 2020

Global IPO activity slowed sharply this year. Corporate

sentiment deteriorated in response to ongoing economic

and geopolitical uncertainties. The equity market volatility

of late 2018 also created uncertainty that affected

businesses, but the market rebounded pretty quickly, even

though at a lower level of activity as a global trend. n

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance



services are


Develop the knowledge and

skills you need to get ahead.

The Institute of Banking has launched a

suite of new education programmes in

digital in financial services.

The programmes are designed to equip

people at all levels with the knowledge and

skills to thrive in a sector responding to the

rapid advancement of digital technologies,

evolving customer expectations, new

competition and increasing regulation.

Find out more at www.iob.ie/digital


Making a difference in the community

Once again this year, PayPal’s annual charity

hackathon in Ireland brought together

teammates from a number of PayPal

offices to help solve the digital challenges

of six Irish charities over a 24-hour period.

For the fourth year running, PayPal teammates and

charities joined forces to develop digital solutions

and systems for their most pressing digital needs.

In total, 24 people from 5 different PayPal offices–

including Dublin, Dundalk, Paris, Amsterdam and

Berlin–took part in Operation Hack.

The organisations which benefitted from new

digital solutions created at the hackathon included

Suicide or Survive (SOS);Educate Together; Home

Education Network; Ruhama; The Sickle Cell Society,

and Zest4Kidz.

The mental wellness app developed for SOS

was awarded the prize for ‘Exceeding Design

Expectations’ while Ruhama earned the ‘Judges’

Award for Extreme Bravery.’ Meanwhile, Home

Education Network was recognised for its project—an

online community with a membership registration

form, interactive networking map and a membership

management database which is GDPR-compliant—

which was ‘Most Aligned to the Statement of Work’

and The Sickle Cell Society was celebrated for the

‘Most Awesome Use of Technology’ for the app

developed, which allows users to monitor pain,

communicate with medical professionals and find

their nearest hospital.

Speaking about the hackathon, Maeve Dorman,

Vice President of Global Merchant Services at

PayPal’s annual

hackathon helps

to solve digital

challenges for six

Irish charities.

Pictured (l-r): Francesca

Plascido, Siobhan Parsons,

Pablo Borda and Joao

Henrico D Avelli Da Silva.

PayPal, said: “We’re delighted that our teammates’

technical expertise, particularly in the areas of

ePayments and mobile transactions, can make such

a positive impact. The hackathon is about applying

this knowledge in different areas and helping to

transform the way these charities operate.

“Our teammates are passionate about making

a difference in the wider community and getting

involved in deserving causes–this event gives them

the opportunity to do that. It also allows them to use

their skills to solve digital challenges and with that

comes a great sense of achievement.

“The hackathon is a fun, collaborative event that

helps charities use technology for worthwhile causes

and overcome digital challenges. It’s also a fantastic

event for teammates because it instils a great sense of

achievement and provides a unique opportunity to

put their skills to the test.”

This year’s Operation Hack took place at

Castleknock Hotel & Country Club in Dublin and

was led by Jonathan Davies, Mid-Market and Small

Business Manager for EMEA at PayPal. The event

was also supported by Maria O’Toole, Dundalk Site

Lead for PayPal Gives, and Siobhan Grogan, Dublin

PayPal Gives. The judging panel consisted of Guy

Thompson, Fingal Chamber of Commerce and

General Manager of Castleknock Hotel & Country

Club, as well as a number of PayPal executives

including Tony O’Brien, Paul Ryan, Trevor Tilley

and Ciara O’Hare. They assessed the projects based

on a criteria of innovation, collaboration, impact,

completion and presentation. n

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance


“If you save

the sight of

a child, you

can change

their life”

Dr Paul Nyaluke,




This Christmas can your company help

our sight saving heroes like Dr Paul Nyaluke

save the sight of children in some of the

poorest countries in the world?

Please visit the hero section on


or call 01 6637666 to find out

how you and your company can help

CHY 15437


Cloud hosting changing the business phone system

Irish businesses could save almost €33 million per

year by moving to cloud-based phone systems,

according to industry veteran Stephen Brewer.

The telecoms expert believes that Irish companies are

wasting money on line rental when technology allows

them to host their business lines in the cloud, providing

a far better service at a much cheaper price.

“There are 250,000 businesses in Ireland, the majority

of whom are needlessly paying €20.96 per month to rent

a phone line which is as relevant to modern business

communications as a fax machine,” stated Stephen Brewer,

Managing Director Ireland, Magnet Networks.

“Even if each business only had one line, that is

€62.8m in rental a year—without one call being made.

And yet technology is screaming at these companies to

move with the times and unplug their business from

the wall.

“People don’t see anything wrong with paying for line

rental—which is essentially paying a company to enable

them to deliver you a service which you then pay for—

because that is the way that things have always been.

“The majority of businesses never think about their

phone system—it is just there. However, there was once

a time when people thought black and white TVs were

just fine, until someone showed them a colour set.”

Mr Brewer was speaking at the launch of Magnet Talk, a

hosted system which, he claims, should change the way in

which business phone systems operate in Ireland.

Earlier this year, Mr Brewer launched Ireland’s largest

single connectivity marketplace to shake up the way

that business broadband is sold in this county, and is

now aiming to do the same with business telephony.

The former Apple board member likens this to the

crossroads that the computer industry was once at.

“When we introduced Apple to Ireland and the UK,

computers were just things that lived in air-conditioned

server rooms,” he said.

“Suddenly we made them personal and

revolutionised the industry. We now aim that to do that

by freeing business lines from the wall, and ending the

Irish businesses could

save themselves

almost €33m a year

by unshackling their

phone systems from

the wall, according

to industry veteran

Stephen Brewer.

demarcation between the office phone and the mobile.

“Magnet Talk is based on a €11.95 monthly fee per user,

which includes all the call minutes an average business

will need, and runs over any provider’s existing broadband

lines,” he noted.

“If every business had this, it would cost the country

€29.9m for all of our call needs, saving €33m annually.

“Magnet Talk offers call facilities anywhere, in offices or

on mobiles via an app, and three-way conference calling,

with upgrade packages featuring expanded features to

support any business up to contact centre level.”

The average Irish business uses 570 landline minutes

per month. Magnet Talk is offering 1,000 super national

minutes, which include mobile and landline calls in

Ireland, the UK, the US and 18 other countries—including

mobile calls to the US.

“It is clear that we are not a nation who ask questions

of our phone providers. Our surveying shows that 54% of

businesses with their current supplier for more than four

years,” said Mr Brewer.

“However, 89% of respondents say that a fixed monthly

rate is very important to them when it comes to telephone

costs, which is exactly what Magnet Talk gives them.

“We have designed this for the business which hasn’t

looked at their phone bill for four years and for financial

managers who may not have been aware of the savings

involved,” he added.

“In the same way that technology is creating smart

homes, we are creating smart businesses with flexible

systems that scale with you, are resilient, easily controlled

and affordable.”

With 1,600 new businesses being set up in Ireland

every month, Magnet Networks are offering a free phone

number with Magnet Talk, so that they can immediately

set up contact details on business cards and stationery.

Magnet Talk also offers the facility for businesses to set

up regional numbers in areas, even though they may be

based elsewhere.

For more details see magnetnetworks.com n

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance





m: Brian Kearns - 087 9138240

e: partnerships@sustainabilityx2030.com

The Sustainability 2030 Summit is a response

to the need for a solution based discussion on

building a sustainable future.

Our inaugural event will focus on sustainable

solutions for a new decade.

We will convene thought leaders, policy makers,

heads of industry, investors and experts in their

field for an engaging exchange of sustainability

insights and strategies.



To achieve The KeepWell Mark, employers

will gather a portfolio of evidence to show

they meet the standards and undergo on-site

assessment. The KeepWell team will offer

support and guidance throughout the


entire process.

KeepWell KeepWell


Self assessment


Renew your



Collect the




03. Site visit

and external



Analysis and


Six steps to help achieve your goals

and continue to improve the wellbeing

of your organisation.

Employers are recognising the importance of

supporting employees’ mental health


Given that we spend around a third of our lives at

work, a workplace culture that stymies diversity

takes a toll, not least because it’s a long time

to hide parts of yourself. “It’s more important than

ever that we embrace and harness the diversity in our

organisations, ensure that we are creating cultures of

inclusion and encourage everyone to bring their whole

selves to work,” says Dr Kara McGann, head of social

policy at Ibec, Ireland’s largest business representative

organisation. One aspect in particular that people report

“hiding” is around mental health. “In the not too distant

past, mental health was an area that people did not

understand, or feared, and as a result it was not talked

about, particularly in the workplace,” she says.

Yet its impact will have been clearly felt, both in

distress for the individual and in issues for employers

such as absenteeism, productivity loss or damage

to work relationships. Such problems are only

compounded where people fear being open about

their mental health, in case it damages their image as

professional, competent and successful employees.

Ibec has been focusing on this issue for almost

a decade and new research shows the number of

organisations offering stress management and mental

wellbeing programmes to staff has doubled in the last

five years. Fostering a workplace that is supportive to

mental health disclosures starts with culture. “The

organisation needs to signpost to its workforce that

they can safely disclose and that support is available.

This takes effort, commitment and resources, and we’ve

really seen employers embrace this,” says Dr McGann.

“Like physical health, we all have mental health

that can fluctuate over time. Unfortunately, it’s not

always as easy to see as a physical health issue,” she

says.This can mean that in the workplace some people

are successfully managing their mental health while

More businesses are

seeking out ways to

support employees

and proactively

putting measures and

programmes in place

to enhance overall

staff wellbeing.

Dr Kara McGann,

Head of Social Policy

Sophie Moran, KeepWell

Senior Executive

others may need some support or assistance for a

period of time.

Simply having a mental health policy isn’t enough

– colleagues and line managers in particular need

to know what to do if someone comes to them in

distress, or indeed if they feel someone needs support

and want to reach out.

Good practices are being demonstrated by

employers of all sizes, ranging from raising awareness

about stigma and demystifying the whole area of

mental health, to training mental health first aiders,

running company-wide welslbeing programmes and

supporting mental health charities.

Ibec’s KeepWell Mark provides organisations with

a recognised accreditation in workplace wellbeing.

Enrolling in Keepwell Mark programmes provides

participating businesses with an assessment tool to

help them conduct an extensive audit of all aspects of

their corporate wellness practice.

Participation also includes the services of an expert

assessor who will support the business in identifying

–and making–the changes required to improve its

performance in relation to wellbeing.

“It’s a partnership approach that helps benchmark

your organisation and provides the metrics and

measurements to help guide you,” says Sophie Moran,

KeepWell senior executive at Ibec.

“Simply undergoing the audit helps build awareness

internally. Our analysis shows that employers

are seeking out the KeepWell Mark not just for

productivity reasons but to help boost employee

engagement, happiness and wellbeing.”

This is an abridged version of a sponsored article

which first ran in The Irish Times/www.irishtimes.com

For more information, visit Ibec’s KeepWell Mark,

thekeepwellmark.ie n

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance



Driving innovation in loyalty


new partnership between Visa

and SuperValu underlines how

innovation can drive commercial

success. The partnership, based on

Visa’s Linked Loyalty technology

platform, is the first of its kind in Ireland, with all

Irish Visa debit and credit cardholders able to link

their payment cards to SuperValu’s Real Rewards

loyalty programme. The customer is the ultimate

winner as they are able to pay for goods and earn

rewards and offers in one transaction, without the

need for multiple loyalty cards.

As the leading global payments company, with

its debit, credit and prepaid cards accounting for

more than €1 in €3 of Irish consumer spending,

Visa has unrivalled insights on Irish spending

habits that can be used to help inform companies’

commercial strategy and power successful loyalty


In today’s increasingly competitive business

environment, all companies face the challenge of

Visa’s loyalty

programme simplifies

everything, writes

Philip Konopik,

Ireland Country

Manager, Visa

Pictured above: Philip

Konopik, Ireland Country

Manager, Visa

retaining, growing and expanding their customer

bases. The challenge is how to identify a loyal

shopper, a lapsed customer or an individual that

could be tempted to patronise your business.

Visa’s loyalty services can help to solve this

challenge and give companies the ability to target

consumers with personalised, relevant and simple

money back offers.

Up until now, Visa’s loyalty offering has

been available to card-issuing banks through

its Card Linked Offers platform, which offers

cashback rewards to participating cardholders

in partnership with a number of Irish banks—

Permanent TSB (GoRewards), AIB (AIB Everyday

Rewards), Bank of Ireland (Live Life Rewards from

Bank of Ireland), and Ulster Bank (Ulster Bank


Now retailers are also able to take advantage

by powering their own loyalty programs through

the payment company’s Linked Loyalty program.

Linked Loyalty reflects the future of loyalty

70 Business & Finance Quarterly Review Q4 2019


programmes, with consumers frustrated by the

need to maintain multiple cards, keep vouchers in

their pocket or search through their smartphone

for a code in order to redeem an offer. Visa’s loyalty

programme simplifies everything, as shoppers

only need to signup and link their Visa card/s to

the retailer’s loyalty programme and then they

earn points or avail of offers every time they pay

with Visa. Whether via the physical payment

card or a mobile device like a smartphone Linked

Loyalty removes the need for consumers to also

present the store loyalty card at point of sale to

earn their rewards.

Underpinning everything is Visa’s unrivalled

data, which enables retailers to provide offers to

specific segments, to engage new customers, or

to re-engage former customers. Once enabled,

Linked Loyalty programme delivers a series

benefits for retailers, with customers incentivised

to remain loyal; the ability to learn more about

customers’ spending behaviours, from lower

value transactions to aggregate spend; and a

decline in queue times due to an increase in

digital payments with more customers using Visa,

ultimately helping to reduce cash handling and

security costs.

The SuperValu Real Rewards agreement is the

biggest strategic partnership that Visa has signed


everything is

Visa’s unrivalled

data, which

enables retailers

to provide

offers to specific


Pictured above: Jeni Mundy,

Managing Director UK &

Ireland, Visa, Philip Konopik,

Ireland Country Manager,

Visa and Martin Kelleher,

Managing Director, SuperValu

with an Irish retailer to date. As the largest Irish

grocery retailer in the country, SuperValu serves

over 2.6 million customers every week and has

220 stores nationwide.

The initiative has seen both companies make

an investment in developing a new technology

platform to facilitate the link-up, which is now

available to SuperValu’s 1.3 million Real Rewards

members, who earn Real Rewards points for

every purchase made in-store, which can be used

to redeem money-back vouchers against future

purchases. Money-back vouchers can be used in

any SuperValu store, as well as online and even

with the grocery retailer’s other Real Rewards


The partnership reflects the increasing trend

for consumers to shift to digital payments due

to the convenience and security features of

new technologies like contactless payments.

SuperValu’s Real Reward members now have a

seamless shopping experience with the ability

to earn points for their purchase at SuperValu by

simply using their linked Visa debit or credit card.

To find out more about how your business can take

advantage of Visa’s Linked Loyalty programme,

please visit: visa.ie/partner-with-us/paymenttechnology/linked-loyalty.html


Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance



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JYSK announces ambitious new Irish expansion plans

Danish home retail brand, JYSK, has

announced ambitious new Irish expansion

plans following the success of five store

openings this year. In January, JYSK announced

plans to open 15 Irish stores in Ireland within two

years, but it now has its sights set even higher.

JYSK is now aiming to open 40 stores over

the next three to five years, with a forecasted

turnover of €70 million, creating hundreds of

new jobs.

JYSK is actively seeking properties all over

Ireland to meet its expansion targets and it is

calling out for property owners to get in touch.

Progress has not always been smooth so far, and

Poul Erik Larsen, Expansion Director at JYSK, has

highlighted a number of issues that could hinder

the company’s growth here, saying: “It has been

very difficult, time consuming, and expensive

to open new stores in Ireland. We have noted

that in other parts of Europe we can issue and

sign a lease contract within 2-4 weeks, whereas

in Ireland, this is taking up to 16 weeks in some

cases. To achieve the volume of stores we want

in the Irish market within 2-3 years, we need to

secure a steady flow of new locations and that is

something we’re actively pursuing right now.”

Irish customers have embraced JYSK since it

opened its first store in Naas in April 2019. In its

opening month, the Naas store performed second

best out of 1,200 stores across the JYSK Nordic

division of the JYSK Group. Since then, it has

opened stores in Navan, Portlaoise, Drogheda

and most recently, Youghal. With three new

Danish home retail

brand has ambitious

expansion plans

in Ireland

Pictured above:

Roni Tuominen, head of retail

in JYSK Ireland.

stores due to open in the coming months in Sligo,

Waterford and Limerick, JYSK wants to reach and

exceed its initial ‘15 store openings in two years’,

business plan that it set when it arrived in Ireland.

Roni Tuominen, Head of Retail at JYSK Ireland,

said: “The appetite for JYSK’s offering is there

amongst Irish consumers, and we have seen this

in our revision of forecasted figures for 2019,

which have been increased by almost 50%. We

want new JYSK locations in towns and cities

all over Ireland, where we can be close to our

customers and where we can contribute to the

local economy. This is especially important in

smaller communities where our job creation will

be extremely valuable.”

Founded in Denmark in 1979 by Lars Larsen,

JYSK’s Scandinavian design ethic and stylish

approach to interiors has made the brand known

and loved across the world. Over the past four

decades, JYSK has expanded to 52 countries, with

more than 2,800 stores worldwide employing

23,000 people.

The interiors range at JYSK includes of-themoment

trends, and Nordic design pieces such

as end tables and dining tables in wild oak. JYSK

also enjoys a worldwide reputation for expertise

and knowledge in sleeping culture, and offers

everything from mattresses to frames and bases.

If you have a property that might be suitable

for a JYSK store, you can contact Jenny

Johnston, Sales and Marketing Manager for

JYSK Ireland at jjoh@jysk.com. n

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance


Teach a

man to


Haven is teaching life changing skills so that

the most marginalised people in Haiti can lift

themselves out of poverty.


Business & Finance 100


Celebrating the 100 Most Outstanding Irish Companies of 2019

As another challenging but immensely

successful year for Irish business, in a

domestic and global context, draws

to a close we are delighted to release

the inaugural Business & Finance

100, celebrating the ‘100 Most

Outstanding Irish Companies of

2019’. The Index comprises the best

performing, most innovative, and

fastest growing companies.

It is no secret that Ireland’s

economy has been gaining strength

year on year from the dark days

of the recession and at almost full

employment, it’s a testimony to

the country as a whole but to these

companies in particular—driving as

they are the immense success of the






nation through the success of their business.

The Business & Finance 100 comprises some

well-known company names, as can only

be expected—companies such as Smurfit

Kappa, Aer Lingus, Primark and CPL—

as well as newer companies that are

constantly innovating, increasing their

reach and scope and making waves

such as Netwatch, Transfermate and


Business & Finance are proud to

recognise the Business & Finance 100

in the magazine, online and as an

integral part of the Business & Finance

Awards. The new decade is shaping up

to be an exciting year and we look forward


to reporting on the successes of these

companies as they continue to flourish. n



Founded in 1954, the award-winning beef processing

group operates with a network of over 35,000 farmers,

and contributes an estimated €1.3bn each year into

the rural economies in which it operates, turning over

€3bn. The core business—ABP Beef—is supported by

its renewable, pet food and protein divisions, which

combine to ensure the value of by-products is maximised and the environmental

impact is minimised. It operates across 51 locations in 9 countries across Ireland,

the UK and Europe.

ABP won 29 awards at the World Steak Challenge 2018, including World’s Best

Fillet Steak, and repeated the win for World’s Best Fillet Steak at the World Steak

Challenge 2019. They were awarded 13 gold, 14 silver and 13 bronze accolades

across a number of different categories, reaffirming ABP’s position the leading beef

processor in the EU. These awards are an endorsement of the unique Ultra Tender

Process that the company utilises.

Last year ABP Foods announced a ground-breaking deal with Chinese online

retailer JD.com one of the largest B2C online retailers in China by transaction volume

and revenue, with 301.8 million active users recorded in the first quarter of 2018.











Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance





Dalata was founded in 2007, by Pat McCann, CEO, with the

acquisition of 11 leasehold hotels. The strategy was to build

a strong base in Ireland, expand into the UK, and at a later

stage into mainland Europe. The financial crash in 2008

changed everything. A young company like Dalata would not

be expected to survive such an event. In 2009 there were

900 hotels in Ireland. By the end of that year, 300 of those

hotels were insolvent. In all this chaos Dalata spotted an opportunity. As banks appointed

receivers over hotels, they needed someone to manage these hotels. Dalata took on the

management of 37 hotels on behalf of these banks. Virtually overnight Dalata became the

largest hotel operator in Ireland. Cognizant that at some point the banks would need to sell

on those hotels at well below replacement cost, the decision was made in 2013 to float the

company on both London and Dublin stock exchanges, raising €520m in equity from fund

managers in Ireland, the US, the UK and Europe to acquire hotels across Ireland and in the

UK. Today Dalata owns 30 hotels, leases 10 hotels and have 3 management contracts with

a total of 9,046 rooms. In the five years since listing the company’s revenue has grown fivefold

from €79m to €394m and EBITDA has grown from €6m to €120m, and it is the largest

hotel company ever to exist in Ireland with the two largest hotel brands, Clayton Hotels and

Maldron Hotels.



Since inception, Diaceutics’ focus has been on precision

medicine and improving the testing ecosystem to ensure

more people with life-threatening illnesses are given the right

treatment at the right time. Today, more than 42% of all drugs

in late-stage development are dependent upon biomarker

testing. However, sub-optimal testing practices mean many

patients are missing out on the chance to be put on these

potentially life-saving medications. Diaceutics’ services help pharmaceutical companies

to pinpoint risks and challenges that can get in the way of effective testing and make it

difficult to reach all the patients that need to be on specific drugs. In doing so, Diaceutics

is revolutionising patient healthcare by improving the commercial success of precision

medicine drugs and the last 12 months have been the company’s most successful yet.

Following its IPO on the London Stock Exchange in March, Diaceutics is securing the

funding to achieve its vision of better patient testing everywhere. This includes an

investment of £1m in the acquisition of 16 million additional patient records per annum.

On top of that, the company celebrated its expansion into Asia with the establishment of its

Asian HQ in Singapore in January. Diaceutics estimates that there are currently more than

300 targeted oncology drugs in late stage development across the major Asian markets.

The company will support the launch of–and access to–precision therapies in China, Japan,

Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand and Taiwan.






















Business & Finance Quarterly Review Q4 2019




A Cork-based healthcare software firm, founded by Noel

O’Hanlon, a finalist in the 2018 EY Entrepreneur of the

Year programme, Genesis Automation is a specialised

traceability and analytics platform which helps hospitals to

manage supplies and enhance patient safety.

The company has a close relationship with the UK’s

National Health Service, partnering with a number of NHS

trusts and helping to grow its client base to a total of 27 hospitals. In May 2018, Genesis

secured a $1 million (€882,000), five-year deal with the Texas-based Driscoll Children’s

Hospital, following a €21m raise to grow its operations in the US market—with €20m

invested in the company by a British-based private equity fund, and a further €1m

invested by IPF Partners, a Luxembourg-based healthcare funder which had previously

backed the company with around €6m in venture debt.

This year started on a high for the company with another multimillion dollar deal

with a US private hospital chain Novant Health announced in January, which the firm

expects will act as a springboard to rapid expansion there. Novant Health comprises

15 hospitals spread across north and south Carolina and Virginia.

The company is the market leader for its service in the UK, but has been slower to

expand in Ireland given the fragmented nature of the market. Tallaght Hospital signed

up to its service last year. Additionally, Genesis is incorporated in British Columbia in

Canada in a bid to gain market share there.

By the end of this year, Mr O’Hanlon expects the US to account for about half of sales,

rising to 70 per cent in 2020.



Since its foundation in Dublin in 1990, Icon has grown to

become a global leader in clinical research and provider of

outsourced development services to the pharmaceutical,

biotechnology and medical device industries. From a

small team of 5 people in 1990, Icon has grown to employ

over 13,380 people across 97 locations in 38 countries,

through a mixture of organic growth and strategic

acquisitions. Icon opened its first US office in Philadelphia in 1992, and began

trading on the Nasdaq exchange in 1998. Icon now employs 4,600 in the US.

In its recently reported third-quarter 2019 results, Icon posted record net business

wins in the quarter of $931 million with a book to bill of 1.31. Quarter 3 reported

revenue of $710.4 million representing strong year on year growth of 8.5% or 9.5%

on a constant currency basis. Adjusted earnings per share attributable to the Group

of $1.74, a robust increase of 12.9% over Q3 2018. Year to date adjusted earnings per

share attributable to the Group of $5.06, a 13.0% increase over prior year.

CEO Dr. Steve Cutler commented, “ICON’s quarter 3 results show continuing

growth and represent a strong endorsement of our overall strategy.

“Given our strong progress this year we are increasing our 2019 revenue guidance

from a range of $2,760 - $2,840 million to a range of $2,790 - $2,830 million and we

are increasing earnings guidance from a range of $6.75 - $6.95 to $6.81 - $6.95.”






















Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance





Kingspan, the leading global manufacturer of insulation

panels for the construction industry, was founded as a

small family construction business over 40 years ago.

The Group has huge opportunity for growth as reduction

of carbon footprint has become a pressing issue.

The Group has invested in organic growth and

acquisitions in the US market, bringing their employee

numbers up to 1,800. The Americas represented 20% of Kingspan’s business in

2017, in a record period for the group in which revenue rose by 18.0% to €3.7bn, and

trading profit grew by 10.7% to €377.5m. High profile projects included facades on

the Nike headquarters in Oregon and an Aloft Hotel in Texas.

The past year has been successful for the Group, with its Trading profit up 12 per

cent at €230 million in the first six months of the year while revenues surged 18 per

cent to €2.2 billion.

In its Trading Update for the period to 30 September 2019 posting Sales in the

nine month period to 30 September were €3.43bn, up 8% on the same period in the

prior year with sales growth slowing to 2% in the third quarter. Underlying sales

(pre currency and acquisitions) were up 2% in the year to date and were flat in the

third quarter.



Netwatch was founded in 2003 by its current CEO, David

Walsh—who steps down at the end of this year—and CTO

Niall Kelly, and provides remote security in the form of

visual monitoring services for over 3,500 client locations

throughout the world. In addition to Ireland and the

US, Netwatch also has a significant operation in the UK

where it owns Onwatch Multifire in East Sussex.

Now known as Netwatch Group, the Carlow-based security tech enterprise

merged with several American and UK rivals following an investment from

American private equity firm Riverside.

The newly-formed Netwatch Group comprises Netwatch—who already

operated US offices in Netwatch offices in Boston, Chicago and New Jersey—

and the California-based National Monitoring Centre, CalAtlantic in Texas and

Onwatch Multifire, which is based in Sussex, doubling the workforce. The merger

also brought with it the addition of 1,000 resellers in the USA, driving sales for

Netwatch technologies, serving clients in the government, critical infrastructure

(utilities, communications, energy), manufacturing, warehouse/logistics, mining

and minerals, finance, retail, and auto dealerships. This year it announced further

expansion of its team in the US, creating 100 jobs to fill demand for its new

solutions built on artificial intelligence and machine learning.






















Business & Finance Quarterly Review Q4 2019




This has been a stand-out period for Ornua, a co-operative

which is ultimately owned by the dairy farmers of Ireland. Its

primary objective is to maximise the price it pays for dairy

products so that its shareholders, the dairy processors, can

maximise the milk price paid to farmers. Ornua is firmly

committed to creating value for Irish dairy farming families

through the delivery of strong product price returns. Earlier

this year it reported a strong 2018 trading performance with Group turnover reaching

€2.1 billion, Group EBITDA of €60.5 million up 12.5% and Operating Profit of €40.4 million

up 14.8%. This performance was achieved by its global team of 2,200 employees, during

a period of significant and sustained investment across its facilities and brand portfolio.

Its 5-year CAGR on EBITDA is 16.2%. It has been an exceptional time for Kerrygold. With

Kerrygold it has a prestigious global brand, with a unique tradition and heritage. Last April,

Kerrygold became Ireland’s first billion-euro food brand, surpassing €1 billion in annual

retail sales. The strength and impressive growth of Kerrygold has allowed Ornua to pay a

brand premium of €18 million to its members for Kerrygold product last year alone. Ornua

Ingredients has also marked several key milestones in recent times. Its Avila facility outside

Madrid, which was sadly destroyed by a devastating fire in December 2017, has been rebuilt

following a €30 million investment. In the US market Ornua Ingredients had a record 2018,

experiencing double digit growth.














TransferMate—a part of the Taxback Group—is a global B2B

payments technology firm, enabling companies to send and

receive cross-border payments faster and easier than ever

before. TransferMate has built one of the largest portfolios of

payments licences worldwide, including in 51 US states and

territories, to support trading in 162 countries. Leading banks,

fintechs and software providers partner with TransferMate

to offer an enhanced user experience for their business customers. Using TransferMate’s

technology and global banking infrastructure, companies benefit from better exchange

rates, greater transparency and improved reconciliation via direct integration into

accounting and ERP systems. TransferMate’s mass payments technology is trusted by

banks and businesses globally to offer an enhanced user experience for their business

customers. The company has created bespoke integrations for banks like ING, AIB and Wells

Fargo and software providers such as Tradeshift, Coupa, and SAP Concur. The TransferMate

API solution broadens the reach of the technology, enabling all businesses to utilise the

technology, achieving significant time and financial savings. The years 2018 and 2019

have been pivotal in the growth of TransferMate, solidifying its position as market leaders

in global payments, with a growth rate of 94% in 2018 alone. Given the pace of its growth,

2018 also saw an increase in its global team by 20%, now employing 312 people globally.











Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance





UDG Healthcare provides expert outsourced healthcare

services specialising in advisory, communications,

commercial, clinical and packaging for the pharmaceutical

sector via two divisions; Ashfield and Sharp.

UDG Healthcare plc has experienced phenomenal growth

over the last eight years. During this period, the Group

has evolved from being primarily an Irish and UK-based

supply chain business for pharmaceutical companies, to a global leader in advisory,

communications, commercial and clinical and packaging services for healthcare across two

divisions; Ashfield (70% of Group profits) and Sharp (30% of Group profits). The Group’s

strategy has been to shift from a low growth, low margin supply chain business, into higher

growth and higher margin outsourcing services for pharmaceutical companies. Executing

this strategy has seen the Group make 21 acquisitions and four disposals since 2012. Over

the past 5 years, Ashfield has generated a 14% operating profit CAGR while Sharp has

generated a 15% operating profit CAGR. In 2018, the Group completed the final step in its

stra-tegic shift from a distributor for the pharmaceutical industry, to a service provider.

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Business & Finance Quarterly Review Q4 2019


Sightsavers’ focus on inclusive education

When the organization Sightsavers is

mentioned one would be forgiven for

thinking the work of the organisation solely

concentrates on protecting and restoring sight.

Sightsavers is at the forefront of eliminating

avoidable blindness through sight restorative

operations, and the delivery of medical treatments

that help prevent devastating diseases such as

trachoma and river blindness.

The organisation operates in over thirty of the

poorest countries across Africa and Asia, and is

working to eliminate trachoma in some of these

countries by 2025.


What many people may not be familiar with, is

Sightsavers’ focus on inclusive education, social

inclusion and political participation across some of

these countries.

On November 7th Sightsavers supporters were

treated to an insightful keynote speech from Senegal

Country Director Salimata Bocoum discussing these

topics and how Sightsavers is working to ensure no

one is left behind. In particular, Sightsavers is working

to ensure that children with disabilities have every

opportunity to access education in Senegal.

There are over 700,000 people that are blind or

have a visual impairment in Senegal, among them

thousands of school aged children.

Living with a disability in Senegal, a person can often

face a life of discrimination and exclusion from society

with no access to education or job opportunities. And

prospects to earn a living are limited.

Children with disability are often hidden, over

protected and there is a general perception that

they cannot do anything for themselves and will

never reach their potential like their peers. There

are only ten places that came available each year

in schools for the blind and with thousands of

children in Senegal living with visual impairments,

the options were sparse.

To address and overcome these issues, in

2011 Sightsavers piloted an inclusive education

Sightsavers is not

only at the forefront

of protecting and

restoring eyesight;

the organisation also

focuses on access to

education and social


programme in Dakar, encouraging families to send

their children with disabilities to school.


The Sightsavers team and their partnerships had

to address a number of challenges to make this

a reality. Some of which included the training

of teachers so they had the necessary skills, the

provision of equipment such as braille kits as well

as the adaptation to schools’ facilities so the proper

infrastructure was in place.

There was also a larger societal shift that needed to

happen. A removal of the stigma that was attached

to having a disability. This was done through a

combination of community awareness initiatives with

parents and families that encouraged them to support

the inclusion of children with disabilities in education

But to truly effect national change, the team

focused on promoting the rights of the children with

disability at government level. Based on the successes

of the programme, and key milestones since its

inception, the project has led to a breakthrough

government commitment to introduce inclusive

education nationwide.

In 2011, Salimata met a seven year old little boy

called Cisse, who was blind. He was not in school

at the time and instead, he was begging on the

street. Salimata enrolled him into the school that

was piloting the inclusive education programme,

becoming one of the first students in mainstream

primary education. Cisse has completed primary

school and is now in secondary school education.

Sightsavers vision and the incredible work on this

project has proven that children with or without

disabilities can learn together and excel side by side.

This Christmas, Sightsavers have launched their

Support a Hero campaign, encouraging companies

to support the incredible people that help deliver

our sight saving work in some of the most remote

communities in the world.

If you or your colleagues would like to support

Sightsavers this Christmas, visit www.sightsavers.ie/

supportahero n

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance



Spiders Digital Awards

The ‘Oscars’ of Irish digital celebrated 30 years of the internet in Ireland

This year marked the 24th

anniversary of the prestigious

Spider Awards, the longest running

digital awards programme in Ireland,

dedicated to recognising companies and

individuals driving digital excellence in

every aspect of their ethos. As part of the

Spiders evolution into the digital arena,

three key pillars have been established

to define the 2019 categories: campaign,

create and industry. These pillars explore

the interactions between the human,

the brand and the technology to identify

the best in class harnessing the power of

digital. The gala awards ceremony took

place on the 21st of November 2019 at the

RDS Concert Hall, Dublin. Industry leaders

taking home the iconic Spider award—

one of the market’s most sought after

recognition for digital, web, community,

and brand excellence—included Grand

Prix winner Glanbia Digital Media;

Patricia Scanlon of Soapbox Labs who was

honoured with the Digital Hero Award,

in association with the Digital Marketing

Institute; Together Digital, winner of the

‘Large Agency of The Year’ award sponsored

by Deveire; Friday Agency won Best

Website, sponsored by IE Domain Registry,

for their work with RKD Architects; Tribe

Digital won Best Innovation for their work

with BWG foods. For the full list of winners

see www.thespiders.ie. n

Patricia Scalon, Soapbox Labs, winner of the Digital Hero Award sponsored by

Digital Marketing Institute

The coveted Spiders trophies

Joan Mulvihill, Siemens with the The Du Pont team, winner of Digital Transformation in

Manufacturing, IOT & Infrastructure sponsored by Siemens

82 Business & Finance Quarterly Review Q4 2019

John Hurley, the Digital Marketing Institute and Patricia Scanlon, SoapBox

Labs, winner of the Digital Hero Award sponsored the Digital Marketing



Damien Ryan from BDO, Founder of the

Spider Awards

Dónal Rice with Kooba and Mobility Mojo, winners of the Best

in Universal Design, supported by The Centre for Excellence

in Universal Design

David Curtin, IE Domain Registry with Graham Carroll, Richard

Lawton and Barra Heavey, Friday Agency, winner of Best

Website sponsored by IE Domain Registry

The Awards Dinner at the RDS Concert Hall for the Spiders


Imelda Rey and Lesley Cobbe, Irish Times

Training, sponsor of the Best in Social Media

Louise McKeown, Magnet Networks with Michelle Noonan

and Niall O’Callaghan, Shannon Heritage, winners of Digital

Transformation Enterprise, sponsored by Magnet Networks

Ciaran Maher and Diego Solorzano, Square1 with Colm Boohig

and Adrian Barry, Off The Ball, winners of the Best Online

Publisher, sponsored by Square1

Cathal Murtagh, Deveire, with Kara Murphy and

Georgina Wilson, Together Digital, winner of the

Large Agency of the Year sponsored by Deveire

Mark Jordan, Skillnet Ireland with Liz Harmon, AIB, the

winner of Best Use of Disruptive Technology sponsored by

Skillnet Ireland

Rebecca Horan, DMG Media with Ken Ivory,Javelin, Conor

Rowland, OMD Ireland and Ruth Ryan, SSE Airtricity, winners

of Best in Storytelling, sponsored by DMG Media

David Kerr, Bonkers.ie, with Kathryn O’Dwyer,

Kevin Cullinane and Kathleen Walshe, Cork

Airport, winners of Best B2C Campaign

sponsored by Bonkers.ie

Mark Jordan, Skillnet Ireland with The AIB team, winners of

Best Use of Disruptive Technology sponsored by Skillnet Ireland

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance


Principals Club

The Principals Club, an international gathering of C-suite business and political leaders, convened at the Merrion Hotel in

Dublin to celebrate guest of honour, former Minister for Finance Michael Noonan TD.

Principals Club Chairman Ian Hyland

invited a select number of key

leaders from business and political

life to celebrate former Minister for Finance

Michael Noonan TD.

The guest list included former An

Tánaiste Simon Coveney TD, former

Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD, Chairman of

Enterprise Ireland Terence O’Rourke and

Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon, IDA

Ireland CEO Martin Shanahan, and Avolon

CEO Dómhnal Slattery among others.

Speaking about Mr Noonan at the event,

An Tánaiste Simon Coveney TD said, “It’s

not an exaggeration to say that…I think

he has been more influential over me as a

politician than any other person. Minister

Coveney stated: “The energy and the

optimism of Enda Kenny and the calm

and wisdom of Michael Noonan steered

this country through an extraordinary

period of challenge.” Taking his turn at the

microphone, former Taoiseach Enda Kenny

TD, said, “I believe that Michael Noonan

has been one of the finest Ministers for

Finance we’ve ever had in Ireland,” and

commended how he took on “making

difficult decisions in the interests of the

country” during a time of crisis.

Mr Noonan, who was first elected to the

Dáil in 1981, remembered his years working

with Mr Kenny as his favourite part of his

career, calling it “very fulfilling”. n

Michael Noonan TD, Ian Hyland

Michael Noonan TD

Enda Kenny TD

84 Business & Finance Quarterly Review Q4 2019


Tánaiste Simon Coveney

Ian Hyland

Pictured L-R: Enda Kenny TD, Michael Noonan TD

Principals Club dinner

Pictured L-R: Michelle White, Des Carvelle, Brian ‘O’Neill and Enda Kenny TD

Pictured L-R: Stephen Brewer, Yvonne Brewer, Michael

Noonan TD

Pictured L-R: Rhona Mahony, Nicholas


Pictured L-R: Dómhnal Slattery, Enda Kenny TD

Pictured L-R: Sean O’Rourke, Peter Sylvester, Nelson

Loane, Michael Noonan TD

Pictured L-R: Frances Ruane, Anne

Heraty, Orla Boulman

Pictured L-R: Julie Sinnamon, Tánaiste Simon Coveney,

Ciaran McNamara

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance



Women in Tech Awards

The Women in Tech Awards took place on October 10th 2019 in the RDS

The Women in Tech Awards, in

association with Permanent TSB,

celebrated the inspirational

work of women in driving excellence,

innovation and leadership in the tech

industry, with an awards ceremony in the

RDS Concert Hall. The second year of the

Women in Tech Awards saw the number

of nominations triple from the inaugural

Awards in 2018; 270 companies engaged

with the Awards, with 368 women from all

corners of the country nominated. In the

spirit of being as inclusive and accessible

as possible, the Awards ceremony itself

was free to attend, thanks to a number of

generous category sponsors and this year’s

new headline sponsor Permanent TSB.

Barbara McCarthy, chief technology

officer (CTO) at Ding, was honoured with

the special recognition Grace Hopper

Award, named for the late pioneering

American computer scientist and US Navy

Rear Admiral. Among high profile award

winners on the night were Dr. Patricia

Scanlon, founder, Soapbox Labs, and

winner of the Trailblazer Award, sponsored

by Oracle; Caroline Dunlea, of Core

Optimisation, who took the Entrepreneur

of the Year Award, sponsored by Enterprise

Ireland; Lorna McAdoo of Version 1,

winner of the IT Business Leader Award,

sponsored by Magnet Networks; and

the winner of the Mentorship Award,

sponsored by Fiserv, Jacinta Walker of

Qualtrics, who spoke passionately about

the subject matter, stating, “I think one

of the most effective ways leaders in tech

who care about gender parity can make a

difference is through visibility of women

and mentorship. Giving your time to

sponsor, coach, mentor women shows your

commitment to solving the gender balance

issue in tech.” Facebook were among those

recognised for their efforts, taking the prize

for HR Diversity Initiative, sponsored by

PwC Ireland, while Accenture Ireland were

awarded Diverse Company of the Year,

sponsored by Permanent TSB. n

Barbara McCarthy of Ding, recipient of the Grace Hopper Award.

Tracey Carney, MD of Dublin Tech Summit (back centre) is pictured with all the winners at the second

annual Women in Tech Awards.

Tech expert and radio broadcaster Jess Kelly, host of the

Women in Tech Awards.

86 Business & Finance Quarterly Review Q4 2019


Tracey Carney, MD of Dublin Tech Summit, pictured speaking at the Women in Tech Awards.

Yemi Oluseun of Barclays, winner of the Digital Transformation

Award, presented by Niamh Bohan of Travelport Digital.

Attendees celebrating the second annual Women in Tech Awards.

Representing Facebook, Lucy Marrime, Thandi Nyati,

Tetlanyo Lekalake, Francesca Capobianchi.

Pictured L-R: Paul Sweeney, Michaela Blott

and Lucian Petrica.

Suzanne Boxwell of Wrike presented Niamh Sterling of

Recipe Guru with the Disruptor Award.

Tom Hayes of Permanent TSB presents the Diverse

Company of the Year Award to Accenture.

Crowd at the second annual Women in Tech Awards, in association with Permanent TSB.

Robert Byrnes of PwC presented Lisa Miller, Facebook,

with the HR Diversity Initiative Award.

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance



Digital Taxation is top of the agenda at FS Forum

Leading industry voices discussed the challenges around digital taxation at the FS Forum in Dublin.

The FS Dublin Forum, on

18th September 2019, brought

together leading industry voices

to discuss how can companies balance

managing the tax challenges of global cross

border commerce, with the demand for

business growth and innovation, while

ensuring worldwide tax compliance.

Under the umbrella theme of

International Digital Taxation, the main

discussion topics included what’s next in

the global VAT/GST evolution, and the daily

business reality of tax management.

The panel, moderated by, Marc

Coleman, an advisor to Ibec and other

leading organisations, included David

O’Sullivan, VAT Policy Advisor, OECD; Anna

Scally, International Tax Partner, Head of

Technology & Media, Fintech Lead, KPMG;

John McCarthy, Founder & CEO, Taxamo

and Vincent Manning, Tax Manager,


John McCarthy, CEO, Taxamo got the ball

rolling, discussing the global, trends and

pressures on governments to come up with

some cohesive regulation around digital

taxation, with some 70-plus countries

currently all with different approaches.

Vincent Manning, Tax Manager EMEA,

Zendesk, warned that non-compliance

poses a massive financial risk. He pointed

out that real time reporting is at the

cutting edge and is the future of the sector.

Moderator, Marc Coleman, suggested

that Ireland is moving towards a high tech

economic culture, with more training on

blockchain and ecommerce analytics being

taken into consideration in accounting exams.

Anna Scally, Tax Partner, KPMG, stated that,

“Rules are different and process are different

and systems are different from all countries,

but should be accessible to both large and

small businesses. Small business cannot


David O’Sullivan, VAT Policy adviser, OECD

pointed out there has been a change from a

goods-based marketplace to an intangible

marketplace that is set to be a USD 4 trillion

by 2021, with 25% of that trade cross border,

meaning potentially USD 100 billion in VAT at

stake annually. n

Marc Coleman; David O’Sullivan, VAT Policy Advisor, OECD; Vincent Manning, Tax Manager, Zendesk; Anna Scally, International Tax Partner, Head of Technology & Media,

Fintech Lead, KPMG Ireland; John McCarthy, founder & CEO, Taxamo; and Tracey Carney, MD, Business & Finance Media Group.

Marc Coleman and David O’Sullivan, OECD

Anna Scally, KPMG Ireland

88 Business & Finance Quarterly Review Q4 2019


Vincent Manning, Zendesk, David O’Sullivan, OECD, John McCarthy, Taxamo

David Hyland, Xsellco, Tessa O’Neill, Getty Images and Shay Ferris, Fire

Vincent Manning, Zendesk and John McCarthy, Taxamo

Marc Coleman, David O’Sullivan, Anna Scally, Vincent Manning, John McCarthyº

David O’Sullivan, OECD and Anna Scally, KPMG Ireland

FS Dublin Forum, Stephens Green Hibernian Club

John McCarthy, founder & CEO, Taxamo

Dermot O’Shea, Taxamo

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance



Ignite X London

Ignite X London was held at the Tech Hub in October in association with headline partner 360 Innovation Lab.

Following on from the success of the

inaugural Ignite X investors event

(held in the Guinness Storehouse

in April 2019 on the eve of Dublin Tech

Summit), the Dublin Tech Summit team

launched its first overseas iteration of Ignite

X with Ignite X London held at the Tech Hub

on October 21st, 2020 in association with

headline partner 360 Lab.

Supported by the British and Irish

Embassies, Ignite X London brought

together the Irish and British investment

and tech communities for a networking

morning. Featuring a panel comprising of

industry experts from British Business Bank,

Enterprise Ireland, the British-Irish Chamber

of Commerce and Barclays Bank, Ignite X

London proved to be a great opportunity

to take stock of what the key technology

and venture trends are in both the UK and

Irish market and where capital should be

deployed going forward.

The event also featured a fireside with

the founders of upcoming startup Stack, an

internet launchpad offering unlimited splitscreen

view, allowing the seamless operation of

multiple apps simultaneously.

Tracey Carney, Managing Director of Dubin

Tech Summit proudly announced 360 Lab

as the title partner for Ignite X 2020. The 360

Innovation Lab is an Austrian accelerator and

incubator whose mission is to empower the

visionaries and disruptors from all over Europe

to create a global future.

Ignite X will be returning to the Guinness

Storehouse on April 21st, 2020. n

Dominik Renner, Head of Innovation & Consulting, 360 Lab

L-R: Juliet Rogan, Barclays Bank, Andy Rogers, British-Irish Chamber of Commerce, Padraic Geraghty,

Enterprise Ireland, Ian Connatty, British Business Bank, Edward Michael Plat, 360 Lab

L-R: 360 Lab team, Edward Michael Platt, Daniel Reicher, Marlene Gruenberger, Nina Rigg, Dominik Renner

L-R: Tracey Carney, Marlene Gruneberger, Dominik Renner

L-R: Dachi Gubadze and Giorgi Laliashvili from Stack with

Nina Rigg, 360 Lab

90 Business & Finance Quarterly Review Q4 2019

Tracey Carney, Managing Director, DTS

Attendees at Ignite X London


Launch of Dublin Tech Summit 2020

Dublin Tech Summit and Dublin City Council announce partnership at official DTS launch.

Dublin Tech Summit 2020 (DTS20)

was launched officially on

Thursday, November 14th at the

Mansion House Dublin. Lord Mayor of

Dublin Paul McAuliffe launched Dublin

Tech Summit’s partnership with Dublin

City Council at the reception. In attendance

were representatives from a number of

international trade agencies and embassies,

technology business leaders and members

of the Irish startup community.

Opening the event, Lord Mayor Paul

McAuliffe highlighted that, “Dublin is a

place where the world studies, where

it works, lives and invests.” Mary

MacSweeney, Deputy Head of Enterprise

& Economic Development for Dublin City

Council, emphasised that, “Partnering with

DTS20 supports Dublin’s ambition to build

a great startup and scale-up city.”

Managing Director of DTS Tracey Carney

expressed the honour “to partner with

Dublin City Council for the next chapter of

Dublin Tech Summit, crafting a programme

with an international focus, showcasing the

strength of our city, our country and our

communities”. Ms Carney also introduced

a new showcase, Vision X, focused on

bringing together high growth startups,

investors and international embassies and

trade agencies.

Dublin Tech Summit returns to the RDS

on April 22nd and 23rd 2020. n

L-R: Tracey Carney, Managing Director, DTS, Lord Mayor of Dublin Paul McAuliffe and Mary

MacSweeney, Deputy Head of Economic Development & Enterprise, Dublin City Council.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Paul McAuliffe

Lord Mayor of Dublin, Paul McAuliffe addressing attendees

Mary Mac Sweeney, Deputy Head of

Economic Development & Enterprise

at Dublin City Council

L-R: Luis Carmo Reis, Director Economic and Commerical

Counsellor, Embassy of Portugal, Tracey Carney,

Managing Director, DTS

L-R: Marta Smolarek, Polish Investment & Trade Agency,

Felipe Ortega, Embassy of Chile

Attendees at the Partnership Launch of

DTS and Dublin City Council

Attendees at the Partnership Launch of DTS and Dublin

City Council

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance



Social Entrepreneurs Awards

Announcement of the 2019 Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awards

The announcement of the 2019

Social Entrepreneurs Ireland (SEI)

Awards was made at an event at the

Mansion House in Dublin in October. The

SEI programme identifies high-potential

social entrepreneurs and supports them

through funding and mentoring, as

well as providing access to a network of

support. Since SEI was founded in 2004,

it has supported more than 300 social

entrepreneurs who have impacted the lives

of an estimated 1.7m people across Ireland.

Six Irish start-ups were awarded over

€240,000 in funding and support at the

2019 Social Entrepreneurs Ireland (SEI)

Awards. The six winning organisations

receive an equal share of €120,000 in

funding, alongside an additional €120,000

worth of non-financial support to help

transform and grow their projects. These

innovative businesses set out to solve and

ease a number of societal issues.

The six awardees are: AgriKids, a farm

safety education programme founded by

Alma Jordan; James O’Neill’s communityled

crime prevention initiative Property

Marking Ireland; Tracy Keogh’s Grow

Remote, a project which connects users

with remote working positions and

local remote working communities;

JumpAGrade, founded by David Neville

and Pádraic Hogan, a Limerick-based

initiative with an innovative model for

the provision of secondary school grinds;

The Ease Project, founded by Boris Hunka,

which delivers workshops for students

to explore anxiety and its management;

and Dr Maria Garvey’s Helping Hands

anti-bullying programme which provides

schools with the tools and training to

enable teachers to identify and prevent

bullying. n

L-R: Sarah Rochford, Niamh Farren and Aisling Sheehan.

Shane Hamill and Caroline Keeling.

Eilish O’Connor and Clodagh Swords

Hollie Daly and Anna Fitzgerald

92 Business & Finance Quarterly Review Q4 2019


L-R: Tara Hayes, Patricia Crabb, Hazel Mitchell and Clodagh Harmon

Clodagh Harmon and Mark Shippman

Sabrina Curran and Mark Noonan

L-R: Yvonne Corcoran, Dan Binchy and Lara Cassidy

Naoimi Linehan and Ben Kitchen

Eithne Lynch and Sinead Smith

Gina Oglesby and Faye Drouillard

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance




Brian Conlon, founder of First Derivatives,

spent the end of the 1980s at the US

derivatives trading desk at Morgan Stanley in

London. He then moved on to become a financial

engineer for Sunguard, travelling regularly between

Silicon Valley and European hubs.

He eventually set up his company—a software

consultancy providing support to global financial

services firms—from a spare bedroom in his

mother’s house in 1996. He started the company

with seed capital of just £5,000 from the local

Credit Union, and grew it into an international

concern employing over 2,000 people worldwide,

with an estimated valuation of some £1 billion.

Shane Mulholland, FD’s head of marketing, called

Mr Conlon “visionary” and recalled, “The banks he

went to at first for capital didn’t understand what he

was trying to do. It was the Credit Union in Newry

which took a leap of faith and backed him.”

First Derivatives staff embedded in major

banks in all the global financial centres from

Hong Kong to San Francisco—although as Irish

banks resisted change at the time the company

was experiencing rapid growth, FD, which listed

on AIM in London in 2002, only won its first

Irish contract in 2007.

Alongside the consultancy services, Conlon

diversified into writing his own software.

Another interesting initiative was purchasing

apartments to house employees working in New

York and London.

Brian Conlon, founder

of First Derivatives,

a visionary who built

a world-class global


First Derivatives is one of the biggest graduate

recruiters in Ireland. Its clients include Airbus

Defence and Space, and Red Bull Formula 1.

He was presented with the award for

EY Entrepreneur of the Year in 2010, by

then‐President of Ireland, Mary McAleese and

in 2015 was awarded an honorary doctorate by

Queen’s University Belfast.

The chairperson of the EY Entrepreneur

of the Year panel in 2010, Senator Pádraig Ó

Céidigh, spoke highly of Mr Conlon, saying “The

simplicity of his approach to his life and business

struck me… he was an absolutely wonderful man,

he had a beautiful energy about him. He treated

people with the utmost respect, and expected

to get respect back. You could sense it. He would

look at you and you could sense that he would

draw out the best in you.”

In a statement after Mr Conlon’s passing,

First Derivatives’ non-executive chairman

Seamus Keating said: “Brian built a worldclass

business in First Derivatives. His drive,

ambition and determination inspired all who

had the privilege to work with him. This news

is a profound shock to all of us.”

He is survived by his wife Julie (nee

O’Hare) and their son, Fionn, and daughter,

Danu, his mother Josephine and his siblings

Kathy and Ciaran, who both work for FD. He

was predeceased by his father Gerry and his

brother Ronan. n


Business & Finance Quarterly Review Q4 2019



Arthur Ryan (1935-2019) founded and

built international fashion chain Primark

(Penneys in Ireland), serving as CEO until

2009. He passed away in July, aged 83, after a

battle with cancer.

Family, friends and colleagues spoke warmly of the

intensely private and rarely interviewed retailer at his

funeral mass in Sacred Heart Church in Donnybrook,

Dublin. His wife Alma told mourners that life with

him was “fantastic and fun” and that, “He was the

most loyal man you could ever meet, if Arthur could

help somebody, he did.”

In a fitting tribute, staff at Penneys Mary St HQ—

where he never missed a day, even during gruelling

radiotherapy sessions following a cancer diagnosis—

formed a guard of honour as the funeral cortege

passed by.

Mr Marchant, who succeeded Mr Ryan as CEO in

2009 (while Mr Ryan remained as Chair) said in his

eulogy that, “He helped to create more retail careers

and his legacy improved more lives than anyone

else.” He credited Mr Ryan with passing on, “a passion

for retail and for satisfying his customers.”

George Weston, CEO of Associated British Foods

described him as “Fascinating to be with—he was

shy but could dominate a room, he didn’t suffer fools

gladly, but he helped those in need and he was a hard

man but a big softie.”

Arthur St. John Ryan was born in 1935 in Cork,

the son of an insurance clerk. He was educated at

Synge Street CBS in Dublin before emigrating to

Legendary founder of

multinational fashion

chain Primark, Arthur

Ryan passed away in

July of this year,

aged 83.

London where he worked for as a tie buyer at a fashion

wholesaler. He then returned to Ireland in 1965 to join

Ben Dunne Snr as a retail buyer in the newly opened

Cornelscourt shopping centre in south Dublin.

Galen Weston turned to him to lead a new fashion

retail venture, and he opened the first retail shop

under the Penneys brand name in Mary Street, Dublin

in 1969. With the so called “Gang of Four”—Breege O

Donoghue, Paddy Prior and Seamus Halford—at the

helm, the business grew exponentially throughout the

1970s in Ireland.

He saw the potential in creating a solid foundation

in Ireland and expanding the business model abroad.

The first UK store opened in Derby in 1973, under the

Primark name, due to legal difficulties over Penneys’

resemblance to the US chain JC Penney.

Ryan was described in 2006 by the fashion trade

magazine Drapers as the most influential figure in

high street fashion. Writing in the Sunday Tribune in

2006, Ben Dunne described him as a father figure who

had a few strict rules which he abided by: “Never buy

what you like yourself and if it isn’t selling, get rid of it

quick. He was a great man for identifying his market.”

By 2012 Primark was operating in eight countries

in Europe, with its first foray into the US market—the

opening of the Boston store in 2015—to be one of his

last public appearances as his health started to fail.

He is survived by his wife Alma, daughters Jessica

and Alison, sons Colin and Arthur, nine grandchildren,

and his sisters Anne and Louise, and predeceased by

son Barry and grandson Barry Jnr. n

Quarterly Review Q4 2019 Business & Finance





Séamus Leahy, Director of Marketing at The Fota Collection

Q. What was your first job?

I grew up alongside Mallow Golf Club and I

was probably the richest 12 year you could

meet. I had a thriving business collecting

and selling golf balls. My first job after

college was with Dairygold where I worked

for Con Murphy in the Credit Control

Department. I’m pleased to say we are still

friends to this day. My first marketing role

was with Scottish & Newscastle, based in

Cork and Manchester.

Q. What would you regard as your

greatest achievement to date?

Having three children that I get along

great with! Considering they range in ages

from nineteen to four, this is quite the

achievement in my books.

In business—developing, launching and

operating the Christmas event at Fota Island

Resort, this year called Wonder, has been a

highlight in my career but there has been

many experiences that I consider positive. If

you asked me tomorrow, I would probably

have a different answer.

Not forgetting hobbies, I suppose it is

maintaining a senior golf handicap for over

30 years—not that easy to do but I am still

working on it…

Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve

ever been given?

“If someone offers you a cup of tea, take

it—they are giving you a gift of their time not

just a cup of tea.”

Seamus Leahy, Director of Marketing,

The Fota Collection

This advice was from an elderly sales

representative of mine in the north of

England, Geoff Stynes, when I worked as

European Brand Manager for the American

Golf Apparel Company Cutter & Buck.

And do you know what? He was right.

Q. In three words or less, how do you

define success?

Happiness is key.

Q. How do you motivate yourself and

your staff?

Myself, I think I am a self-starter and get

motivated by creating and doing new

projects. Having a work environment that

rewards being pro-active as opposed to

reactive certainly helps. I find an integral

piece of motivation is feeling that you

and your work is valued by not only your

superiors but the entirety of your team. I

have worked hard to create an open and

honest workplace for my team where

each member always feels listened to for

thoughts, advice and opinions. Generally

speaking, I try to hire people smarter and

nicer than me—it seems to work well.

Q. How do you relax?

I really enjoy doing something with the

family, whether out for a walk, taking time to

play a board game or going for a bite to eat. It

is that time that makes the work worthwhile.

But golf and movies if I get the chance to be


Q. What’s your motto?

Surround yourself with people smarter than

you and never be afraid to learn something new.

Q. What are your aspirations for the

future of the business?

I would like to see it grow, expand and

develop through a focus on excelling at

customer service understanding and

delivering in innovative ways.

I feel the hotel industry is currently in a

significant change period and only those

who adapt and evolve will succeed. The use

of technology improves how we can serve

people but the key is to really endeavor to

understand the customer. Also, try not to

follow the crowd in your business ambitions,

it may seem like a safe place but ultimately

results in poor performance—dare to push

the boundaries a little. n

Try not to follow the crowd in your business ambitions, it may seem like a safe

place but ultimately results in poor performance—dare to push the boundaries


Business & Finance Quarterly Review Q4 2019

© 2019 KPMG, an Irish partnership

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