Sunday 19 January 2020

Profile: 'Alpha female' behind the Clerys buyout

Clerys clock. Pic Frank McGrath
Clerys clock. Pic Frank McGrath

Laura Larkin

Her firm threw one of the most talked about, over the top luxury parties of the boom era to launch an upmarket building - but privately businesswoman Deirdre Foley keeps a low profile.

The Sligo woman, whose family have a farming background, is described as having an "intensive, active, hands-on management style". She is known as a formidable negotiator and was once described by Property Week as an "alpha female".

Foley (44) joined KPMG in 1992 after qualifying with a first-class honours business degree from NUI Galway.

In the next two decades she would go on to raise some £3bn (€3.4bn) in debt and equity.

She worked first with GE Capital and later with financier Derek Quinlan, who reportedly had great admiration for her business acumen.

In 2005 she set up D2 private with David Arnold - the pair would part ways in 2013 but not before building a substantial property portfolio both at home and in the UK.

In late 2006 D2 Private threw an elaborate burlesque-themed party in 11-12 St James' Square. A burlesque dancer who provided the entertainment was reportedly brought onto the stage in a bath. But the theatrics weren't wasted because the firm went on to lease out the space for a record figure soon after the bash.

Now heading up D2 alone, Foley is again looking to build a portfolio in both Ireland and the UK.

Unsurprisingly, she has been name-checked in several top 50 business women lists throughout her career and in her downtime she enjoys sailing, shooting and cycling.

Foley has a reputation for never giving interviews. It's an ethos she has stuck to since the Clerys controversy erupted.

Irish Independent

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