Sunday 19 February 2017

Number of Irish directors at UK firms at high, women taking the lead

Dearbhail McDonald, Group Business Editor

Published 15/03/2016 | 10:16

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (CR) accompanied by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (2R), are shown chocolate products by Fiona Dawson (C) President of Mars Chocolate UK in the pilot plant, part of the research and development, during a visit to Mars Chocolate UK in Slough, southern England on April 5, 2013. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited the Mars factory in Slough that has been producing chocolate for over 80 years. A plaque was unveiled to commemorate the visit in which the Queen toured the facility and spoke with members of staff. Cook has worked for Mars for 69 years. (PHOTO: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (CR) accompanied by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (2R), are shown chocolate products by Fiona Dawson (C) President of Mars Chocolate UK in the pilot plant, part of the research and development, during a visit to Mars Chocolate UK in Slough, southern England on April 5, 2013. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited the Mars factory in Slough that has been producing chocolate for over 80 years. A plaque was unveiled to commemorate the visit in which the Queen toured the facility and spoke with members of staff. Cook has worked for Mars for 69 years. (PHOTO: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

The number of Irish directors of UK firms has reached an all time high and one in three Irish directors in the UK are now female.

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The Foreign Directors report by communications agency Eulogy, which will be formally launched at the Irish Embassy in London this evening, had recorded a 13pc growth in Irish directors of UK firms since last year.

Irish nationals remain the largest proportion of non British nationals leading UK based companies, with some 60,892 Irish directors in the UK heading more than 16,000 companies or 10.7pc.

Joining Ireland in the top five foreign directors are Germany, America, India and Poland.

Mr Brady said the surpassing of the 60,000 threshold indicated the continued positive impact of Irish directors on the UK economy and said that the number of Irish women on UK boards was beating every other nationality.

"The tremendous 17pc growth in Irish women in UK boards sets a strong example as gender diversity remains firmly at the top of the agenda for businesses in Britain," said Mr Brady.

"Our report demonstrates the dear value of migration in driving success and provides significant food for thought during this pivotal time for Europe".

Mr Brady added that although Brexit had not formed part of its research, many Irish directors the firm had spoken to expressed concerns about the impact of any split by Britain on open borders, free trade and services.

The report, outlining strong growth of directors in areas such as tech, services and retail, raises questions that Ireland could be exposed to a brain drain of creative talent from Ireland to the UK as talent migrates there.

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