Wednesday 28 September 2016

Meet the Irishwoman who is behind Leicester title fairytale

David Kearns

Published 04/05/2016 | 02:30

Susan Whelan is CEO of champions (Photo taken at the IMAGE Business Woman of the Year Awards Credit: Anthony Woods)
Susan Whelan is CEO of champions (Photo taken at the IMAGE Business Woman of the Year Awards Credit: Anthony Woods)
Leicester City CEO and Howth native Susan Whelan at the IMAGE Business Woman of the Year Awards Credit: Anthony Woods

Leicester City's journey was an unlikely fairytale, but the rise of the club CEO and Howth native Susan Whelan was never in doubt, according to her old boss.

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The Dublin woman joined the club in 2010 after several years of working successfully in trade and retail. She began her career in her family jewellery store, and then moved to work with Aer Rianta.

"Leicester is a fantastic success story but it doesn't surprise me at all with Susan at the helm," said Aer Rianta International (ARI) founder Liam Skelly last night. "We took her on in the early 1990s, a few years after we'd set up ARI in Shannon in 1988, and straight away you knew she was special."

Whelan was hired by the retail company as a perfume buyer and quickly began working out of Moscow and St Petersburg.

"As we went east, so did she. Susan was well able for the job, any job. She's a charming woman, very efficient and with a great personality."

Whelan subsequently worked in the Far East before heading to the UK.

Skelly added: "I was kind of surprised to see her back on this side of the world, especially in Leicester of all places.

"But Susan has a great flair for improving things and never takes her eye off the ball. She wouldn't be one to teach them to kick a ball better - but she'd know well how to develop the finances of the club."

Holding up a bottle of champagne given to him by Whelan more than 15 years ago, Skelly said he'd be delighted to toast her success.

"She gave us this bottle while we were holidaying in Thailand. Maybe we should give her a buzz and drink to her success, she'd love that."

Irish Independent

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