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Fran Rooney

MARTIN FITZPATRICK FRAN Rooney was probably the hottest name in the Irish technology sector. But in three years his company, Baltimore Technologies, broke all known records with a phenomenal ?11 billion wiped off its stock market value. He himself was given a very crude elbow from the firm he built and nurtured. And now he's vanished into the nether reaches of the technology business.

He was certainly a mould breaker in his time. He joined the Department of Posts and Telegraphs from school and spent 16 years educating himself part-time. While with National Irish Banks he attracted the attention of Dermot Desmond, who recruited him to help build Quay Financial Software. This was the conduit leading to the creation of Baltimore, the computer security company he would bring to the top of the tree. It was a dramatic success. In and out of the Footsie 100 twice, Baltimore was once more valuable than Bank of Ireland.

But it was not to last and, when the tech bubble burst, the ediface came crashing around Fran Rooney's head. Of course, his personal fortune from Baltimore didn't completely disappear with the collapsing share price. He sold some shares before the collapse and this helped him build a big home in Castleknock and a nestegg for his comeback hopes.

He sits on the board of Nirvana, a company that identifies and invests in emerging technologies. He is also chairman off Addoceo, the e-learning company, and he's a director of other techie start-ups. He is spending quite an amount of time in Japan.

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