Thursday 29 September 2016

Three who rose from pitch to boardroom

Published 13/09/2015 | 02:30

Kevin Nowlan

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Hibernia REIT chief executive Nowlan won three rugby caps for Ireland in the late 1990s - including being at the wrong end of a 63-15 whooping from the All Blacks. Now he's leading the pack of investors riding the wave of Ireland's property recovery.

Before taking the reigns at ISE-listed Hibernia, chartered surveyor Nowlan was a portfolio manager at Nama and also held a similar job at Johnny Ronan's Treasury Holdings. At Hibernia he has spearheaded plans to revamp the iconic Windmill Lane site - once home to a recording studio used by the likes of U2 and New Order. His company aims to develop over 120,000sq.ft of offices at the site, as well as shops and apartments.

Hugo MacNeill

MacNeill, a Trinity BESS graduate, runs Goldman Sachs' Irish investment banking unit. He played for Ireland 37 times between 1981 and 1988 and scored 10 tries for his country. He appeared in the first Rugby World Cup in 1987 and was selected for the 1983 Lions tour to New Zealand, playing in three of four test matches against the All Blacks. At university he played for Trinity and continued at Oxford, where he studied before taking a management consultant job with the Boston Consulting Group.

As well as his current day job at Goldman Sachs, MacNeill is chair of the cross-border working group trying to bring the 2023 Rugby World Cup to Ireland. But he says his most important job is as chair of philanthropic network The Ireland Funds.

Dick Milliken

Milliken racked up 14 Irish caps and toured South Africa in 1974 with the British and Irish Lions.

But his international sporting career came to an abrupt halt the following year when be broke his leg and ankle playing rugby -though he continued to play club rugby for his home town of Bangor.

A qualified chartered accountant, Milliken went into business and rose to the chief executive job at textiles business Lamont and then the chief financial officer job at drug development business Almac Group, which he held between 2006 and 2011. The Queen's University graduate now sits on the board at Ryanair, the Bank of Ireland Mortgage Bank, NI Science Park Foundation and a number of other private companies.

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