Published 20/02/2011 | 05:00
GERRY Walsh ran a semi-state energy giant during years of major transformation of the market.
He joined Bord Gais in 1984, working in engineering and operations, and progressed into senior management roles. For several years he was in charge of investments in Ireland and abroad, and head of strategic planning.
As the preparations for deregulation were powering up, he became CEO in 2001. He led the company's expansion into an all-Ireland provider of both gas and electricity and drove the building of the €400m Whitegate power station in Cork.
Pre-tax profits in 2001 stood at €89m. They hit €166m in 2007, Walsh's final year at the helm. The residential customer base grew from 366,000 in 2001 to almost double that during his tenure. However the price of gas to the consumer also rose sharply.
Like many semi-state bosses, Walsh had a substantial pay packet, which more than doubled from 2000 to reach €432,000 in 2007. In the run-up to his retirement, a dispute with Bord Gais arose over the financial terms attached to his departure. A €2m benefits claim was finally resolved with an undisclosed settlement towards the end of 2010.
He went on to become chairman of Cork Airport Authority in 2008, a role he still holds. Most recently he and the airport's management grappled with the aftermath of the crash disaster there.
He is a partner since early last year at Praesta Ireland, a business consultancy, where he provides "executive coaching" of CEOs and senior managers. He is also an independent business advisor and a director of Vermillion Energy Ireland, an Irish offshoot of the Canadian energy company, which is a partner with Shell in the Corrib gas venture.
Originally from Millstreet, he lives in Ovens, in his native Co Cork.
Sunday Indo Business