Business Irish

Friday 21 October 2016

Kelly set for rich list premier league as US firm Teneo eyes $1bn float

Published 15/09/2016 | 02:30

Declan Kelly, founder of Irish consulting company Teneo
Declan Kelly, founder of Irish consulting company Teneo

Tipperary businessman Declan Kelly will be propelled to the premier league of Ireland's rich list next year, if the New York-headquartered consulting company he co-founded, Teneo, proceeds with a rumoured $1bn (€890bn) stock market flotation.

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That would value even a 5pc stake at almost €45m.

Established just five years ago, Teneo has quickly evolved into a global consulting firm attracting heavy hitters such as former Conservative leader and one-time foreign secretary William Hague, and Northern Ireland peace envoy George Mitchell, to its ranks of advisors.

Rugby legend Brian O'Driscoll was hired by Teneo in June this year as an advisor to its sports division.

The 'Wall Street Journal' reported that Teneo is eyeing a possible stock market floatation next year that could value it at as much as $1bn (€888m). A minority stake in the firm was sold last year to private equity giant BC Partners.

But even allowing for that, Mr Kelly is certain to have a sizeable stake in the business. He acts as chairman and chief executive of Teneo. Other founding members of the firm include Paul Keary and Doug Band.

A Tipperary native, Mr Kelly - the brother of Labour TD Alan Kelly - is a former special economic advisor to Northern Ireland for the US, having been appointed to that role by Hillary Clinton. He previously worked in senior roles with PR firm FTI Consulting, and also worked as a journalist for the 'Irish Examiner' newspaper.

Teneo has close ties with the Clintons. In 2012, former president Bill Clinton ended his consultancy agreement with the firm over conflict of interest fears because Hillary Clinton was serving as US Secretary of State at the time. He had been Teneo's honorary chairman. Doug Band is also a former aide to Bill Clinton, and created the Clinton Global Initiative.

Teneo, which has 575 employees, has an enviable client base, advising global companies and their chief executives on issues ranging from reputational management to shareholder activism and crisis communications.

It charges monthly retainers, and many blue-chip clients ring up annual bills of millions of dollars for Teneo's consulting services. Clients include Coca-Cola, Xerox, Alibaba, and Dow Chemical. In July, Teneo acquired Dublin PR firm PSG, which was formed by the merger between Pembroke Communications and Slattery Communications.

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