Thursday 19 October 2017

IDA's role set to change as new chairman appointed

Frank Ryan. Photo: Mark Condren
Frank Ryan. Photo: Mark Condren

Fionnan Sheahan Group Political Editor

THE IDA's role is set to shift with the agency also being asked to help Irish companies do more business with multi-nationals based in the country.

Former Enterprise Ireland chief executive Frank Ryan will be appointed as the new chairman of the IDA today.

The move is aimed at creating stronger links between major multinationals and Irish companies.

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton wants the IDA to continue to attract major multinationals, while also speeding up the growth of Irish exporting companies.

The plan is supposed to deliver mutual benefits, with multinational companies getting access to new products and services in the country, and the Irish companies being able to develop big clients. Multinationals based in Ireland spend €80bn a year on sourcing supplies and services. But only €1bn of this spend goes to Irish companies. A target of an additional €500million was set for this year.

The Government also believes multinational companies offer great opportunities to mentor Irish businesses.

The Coalition also wants to attract international start-up companies to Ireland.

Mr Bruton will announce his nomination of Mr Ryan today.

The chairman designate will appear before the Oireachtas committee on jobs today.

In November, Mr Ryan retired after 10 years as chief executive of Enterprise Ireland. During his time in charge, jobs and exports from Irish companies hit record levels.

Mr Ryan previously worked for 25 years with IDA Ireland, based in the USA and Canada from 1979 to 1983. He was a member of the team who attracted Intel to Ireland in 1989. He has also worked in the private sector in the information technology industry for six years.

The appointment follows the minister's decision to set up a joint management group between IDA and Enterprise Ireland.

A source close to Mr Bruton said Mr Ryan's appointment was a key part of the plan.

"Richard wants Ireland to be a place which not only attracts world-leading companies, but also starts and grows world-leading companies. This appointment is a key part of delivering that," the source said.

Mr Ryan was appointed chief executive at Enterprise Ireland in November 2003.

By the end of his time in the job, exports by Irish companies had grown from €9.6bn in 2003 to a record high of €16.2bn in 2012, despite the economic crisis.

Irish Independent

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