Friday 21 July 2017

Dunne Deal: Dynamic Blackrock boy who rose up the ranks in London

Ronan Dunne, chief executive officer of Telefonica O2 UK, poses for a photograph before a Bloomberg TV interview in February. Photo: Bloomberg
Ronan Dunne, chief executive officer of Telefonica O2 UK, poses for a photograph before a Bloomberg TV interview in February. Photo: Bloomberg
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Ronan Dunne, says one person who knows him from his schooldays, has been successful in part because he's been able to "marry business acumen with personality".

His outgoing nature should no doubt help him on his way as he reportedly plots an £8.5bn (€10.8bn) management buyout of mobile operator O2 in the UK.

The effort comes after the European Union last week blocked Hutchison's planned £10.3bn takeover of O2's UK arm, citing competition concerns.

The 'Daily Telegraph' reported yesterday that Mr Dunne (52), who hails from Dundrum on Dublin's southside, has been approached by private equity giants interested in backing him in a buyout offer for the mobile operator.

But the multi-billion pound play is unlikely to faze the Blackrock College alumnus, who despite his rise to the top echelons of the British business world remains grounded and loyal, according to people who know him.

The youngest of three brothers, Mr Dunne's father, Jack, worked for Shell, while his mother, Celia, was a national school teacher.

Both now in their late 80s, Mr Dunne is known to visit them regularly and remains close to his brothers, one of whom also lives in the UK.

There's a rumour - which even appeared to stretch back to his schooldays -that he was a member of the extended Dunne retail family, owners of Dunnes Stores. But one source says that is definitely not the case. In school, he played rugby, football and tennis, and is still known to play golf.

After leaving Blackrock College in 1981, he studied accountancy, which included a stint at the College of Industrial Relations.

He trained with Touche Ross in Dublin, which is now Deloitte, and it's there he met his wife Elaine (they married in 1990), with whom he has one child, an adult daughter who's understood to be in university.

"He was always quite a focused and determined type of fella," says one person who knew him. He moved to the UK soon after qualifying.

After stints at companies including BNP Paribas, where he was a chief accountant at the age of 26, Dunne would go on to become chief financial officer at O2, before being appointed chief executive of the group eight years ago.

Another source says he is "naturally bright" and "pretty balanced".

"He has masses of energy and dynamism and is very determined and forthright", said another.

"He's very analytical and has good instincts. He delivers what he promises."

Analysis

Irish Independent

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