Tuesday 26 September 2017

Where are they now?: Oliver Tattan

ROISIN BURKE

Public servant turned entrepreneur Tattan was last seen casting his eye over the VHI as an acquisition possibility.

At just 31, he was picked to be CEO of the Irish Trade Board (now Enterprise Ireland) in 1996 -- a very plum job with a juicy salary.

He was already well travelled. A chemical engineering graduate, he left Ireland in the Eighties and worked in gold mines in Africa, ran a precious stones business in Brazil and managed a company in Germany. He may have got a taste for investment in Brazil; he put some money into interests there in the early days of the Lula regime, when market confidence in the country was low, and it paid off.

Two years into his five-year contract with the trade board, he departed for the top job at VHI, running the insurer until 2001. He then helped set up, and ran, Dermot Desmond's software interest, Daon, a company specialising in identification technology such as fingerprint screening and ID cards.

In 2004, he founded Vivas, another Desmond-backed enterprise. The health insurance upstart aimed to compete with VHI and Bupa. It gained two per cent of the market.

Hibernian bought out Vivas in 2008 and made it its health insurance arm. Tattan would have netted circa €10m from his 20 per cent share.

Last year, he was reported to be in talks with reinsurance giant Munich Re about investing in, or bidding for, VHI. A court ruling on risk equalisation may have put paid to that. He's on the boards of Dublin-based AGF International Advisors and recruitment company CPL.

An enthusiastic hillwalker, he makes the most of the mountains near his Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, home in his free time.

Sunday Independent

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