Monday 26 September 2016

Newsmaker: Gene Murtagh

Published 09/11/2015 | 02:30

Kingspans CEO Gene Murtagh
Kingspans CEO Gene Murtagh

When Gene Murtagh was appointed chief executive of Cavan-based insulation maker Kingspan in 2005 at the age of just 33, the move simultaneously raised eyebrows and made him the youngest boss of an Irish publicly quoted company.

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He succeeded his father, Eugene, who co-founded what has become a global business.

Gene Murtagh joined Kingspan in 1993, immediately after receiving his business studies degree from the University of Limerick, where he also met his wife-to-be, Orla McMahon.

Last week, Kingspan was recognised by the London-based global non-governmental organisation CDP as a world leader in actions designed to reduce emissions and mitigate climate change. It's one of the few companies included by CDP in the A-list of firms addressing the issue.

Mr Murtagh welcomed the gong and noted how the company is committed to operating with net zero energy impact by 2020. As of last year, 28pc of Kingspan's energy use comes from renewable sources. That's set to rise to 50pc next year.

Today, Kingspan releases an interim management statement that will give investors an update on its third-quarter performance.

When he started working with Kingspan, Mr Murtagh was despatched to its mainland European division, where he spent two years getting to know the ropes. He was later the general manager of the insulation division in Ireland, and then managing director of the environmental container business. He joined the board in 1999.

Between 2000 and 2003, he was managing director of the company's insulated panels division.

And anyone who had any doubts that the protégé would be able to seamlessly slot into the chief executive seat has been placated. Like other companies linked to the construction sector, Kingspan's earnings and share price were hit during the downturn, but it has rebounded.

Last week, Davy Stockbrokers' analyst Flor O'Donoghue said 2015 was shaping up to be a "memorable year" for Kingspan.

He pointed out that the company has materially expanded its geographic footprint this year, and should make "excellent progress" in respect of 2015.

Mr O'Donoghue expects Kingspan's revenues to rise from below €2bn last year to more than €3bn next year, as acquisitions feed into its numbers.

Irish Independent

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