Business Irish

Saturday 7 December 2019

The Punt

Michael O'Leary's office in the new Ryanair Office Campus at Airside Park, Swords. Picture: Colin Keegan
Michael O'Leary's office in the new Ryanair Office Campus at Airside Park, Swords. Picture: Colin Keegan

Ryanair HQ is picture perfect

The Punt had the opportunity to visit the new Ryanair HQ back in February, before yesterday's official opening, previously tweeting photos of the famous sign warning 'gobshi**es' not to use the slide between the first and ground floor (don't ask about the poor person from engineering).

So it was interesting to see how things have progressed, with wall art now completed.

Michael O'Leary's office was a big draw for the curious, with a picture of an aircraft carrier on the wall, apparently, to remind him that no matter how well you think you have things under control, events beyond your sphere of influence can sometimes turn things on their head.

And The Punt was interested to learn that David O'Brien, the newly appointed chief commercial officer at Ryanair, was at one time a major in the army, where he was a motorcycle rider. He'll be in good company. Ryanair's chief financial officer and deputy CEO, Howard Millar, was at one time in the FCA. And the wall art in David O'Brien's office? A bloody big tank. Blasting Ryanair into the future, no doubt.

New faces for An Post board

THERE's a changing of the guard on An Post's board, with two new directors having joined.

Jennifer Loftus, who works with Acorn Life in Galway, and Ed Murray, senior portfolio manager with stockbrokers Cantor Fitzgerald, have been appointed by Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte for a five year term.

They replace Catherine Woods, who stepped down in February last year, and John Quinlivan, whose term also expired last year.

Ms Woods and Mr Quinlivan received fees of €16,000 in both 2012 and 2011 for their roles.

Little detail has so far been provided on either appointment. Ms Loftus works as in actuary, while Mr Murray was previously a director of institutional equity sales with NCB Stockbrokers.

Aer Lingus boss Christoph Mueller, below, was appointed as chairman to the board last March.

He is listed on the An Post website as being chairman designate. He has, however, been elevated.

An Post has been forced to cut costs, staff numbers and restructure its pension plan, after being challenged by a decline in post volumes, down 5pc in 2012 alone and 27pc since 2007.

Challenges remain for the board.

i-Cham plans to boost profile

DESPITE its name, the new Irish Chamber of Commerce in Central Europe is anything but a sham.

The initiative, called i-Cham CE, aims to bring indigenous exporting firms and the Irish business diasporas together under one umbrella.

Offering practical and on-the ground support to Irish SMEs entering or exploring the market, its overall plan is to increase Irish exports and raise the profile of products and services across Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

The Dublin hub of i-Cham CE, which is supported by Enterprise Ireland and backed by several embassies, will be based alongside the Irish Exporters' Association.

John Perry, the minister for small business, has big ideas about the new scheme.

"The platform created by i-Cham will increase in importance, as the point of European manufacturing continues to move to the centre of Europe, and as the countries of Central Europe move rapidly to the EU average in terms of consumption and investment," he said.

"This will generate wide-ranging opportunities for Irish companies in terms of increased exports and jobs growth."

In the past 10 years Irish exports to Central Europe have grown by over 300pc.

Thanks to the continued "catch-up" dynamic, well-trained workforce, healthy banking sector, and low public and private debt – central European economies are expected to continue growing faster than western Europe, generating wide ranging export opportunities for Irish firms, says Enterprise Ireland's Conor Fahy.

Irish Independent

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