Business Irish

Tuesday 28 March 2017

But bright young things prove life begins at 40

Whizz kids move into a new decade, but are still as successful as ever, says Roisin Burke

Several of the 30-something movers and shakers from last year's list hit the big four-oh this year.

Happy birthday to 11890's Nicola Byrne, who celebrates her 40th on this very day. The directory-enquiries company boss spent her early career at a number of firms, including Gateaux, Jacobs, Evian and Bank of Ireland.

She then set up her first company, Stenix Media, selling advertising on tickets, before going on to run 11890.

Former Goodbody economist Colin Hunt, of Macquarie, also turned 40 this year. The Aer Lingus director manages Macquarie's Irish business, which is heavily involved in major state PPP projects (the ones that are left, that is).

Just last month, Trinity Biotech's CFO Kevin Tansley joined the 40-something club.

He said recently that the Nasdaq-listed Trinity plans to embark on a major share buyback programme in coming months, if it can get High Court approval.

Its second quarter profits were $41m (€31m)

Kevin Cahill, commercial director of meatpacking company Kepak, and Nemo Rangers GAA player, also had a big birthday during the year.

The head of the IFSC-based hedge fund Citco, Declan Quilligan, saw in his 40th in summer, as did the Dunnes Stores scion Sharon McMahon.

Ms McMahon is a former solicitor and a director of Silverwood Developments, the Dunnes parent company.

She left Matheson Ormsby Prentice to join the family business some years back. Dunnes Stores was subject to huge speculation this year that it was about to be taken over by Asda, which is owned by US retail giant Wal Mart.

However Sharon's mum, Margaret Heffernan scotched the rumours and said the firm would be staying Irish and family-owned.

Advertising chief Orlaith Blaney had her 40th birthday in July. She's been head of McCann Erickson since 2003, when she became the first female agency boss in Ireland.

The Department of Finance bright spark, economist Robert Watt, who has responsibility for overall expenditure policy and the National Development Plan, is now 40.

So is United Drug director Alan Ralph, who is in charge of the healthcare service provider's supply chain -- the getting-stuff-where-it's-meant-to-go role.

Also hitting his 40s this year is Nigel Bell, the group financial controller at Payzone. The Dublin-based electronic payments firm made a €200m-plus loss last year.

The former chief of Vodafone, Charles Butterworth, turned 40 in February and stepped down from the helm in May, returning to the telecom's UK office after three years in Ireland.

He saw in Vodafone's takeover of BT's broadband Irish business earlier this year.

Grocery retailer Stephen O'Riordan is ADM Londis boss. He turned 40 in January.

The group made a €2.4m profit last year, in spite of consumers keeping tightening purse strings in the recession and price deflation and cutting back store numbers.

Sunday Independent

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