Ex-Anglo director Heraty new Ibec head
The country's biggest employers' group, Ibec, named former Anglo Irish Bank director Anne Heraty as its president ahead of its annual dinner last night.
The founder of recruitment giant CPL Resources is one of the country's most successful business leaders and was the first woman to head an Irish stock market-listed company.
However, the appointment may prove controversial because the Longford-born business woman was a non-executive director of Anglo in the run-up to its massive 2008 state rescue. The collapse of the bank ultimately left taxpayers nursing losses of €29bn.
Along with four other non-executive directors of the bank, Ms Heraty resigned from the board of Anglo in January 2009, shortly before it was taken into public ownership by the Government.
She had been appointed to the board just over two years earlier. In the immediate wake of the bank's nationalisation, she also stood down as a director of state agencies Forfas and Bord na Mona.
Since the financial crisis she has continued to lead the expansion of Cpl, the country's biggest recruitment company.
Ms Heraty is highly regarded in the business community for her successful development of the into a global recruitment and outsourcing business with 36 offices worldwide.
Along with her husband Paul Carroll, she owns a 40.7pc stake in the firm which is worth more than €70m.
In the unpaid but influential role of Ibec president, she will become a key figurehead and representative of the Irish business community. She is only the second woman to hold the presidency, after Julie O'Neill of Gilead Sciences in 2011.
Her appointment was confirmed last night at a black tie dinner at the RDS in Dublin where Taoiseach Enda Kenny was the keynote speaker.
Mr Kenny told business leaders at the event that Ireland remains committed to the 12.5pc corporate tax rate.
In relation to Brexit, he warned that negotiations between the UK and the remaining EU member states will be difficult but of vital importance.
"Nobody should think that the negotiations ahead will be easy, or that they can be viewed through a purely economic lens," he said. "For the remaining EU members there are matters of historic and fundamental importance at stake. It will be a hard bargain to strike."
In her inaugural speech as Ibec president, Ms Heraty called for business taxes to be overhauled to match UK levels.
"This should include a radical reform of our entrepreneurs' capital gains tax regime and improvements to our incentives for investment, innovation and up-skilling in SMEs," she said.
Labour costs should be kept down, but income tax is too high, she added.