Business Irish

Friday 19 January 2018

Where are they now?Hugh Governey


WHEN the US insurance giant Willis paid a reported €70m for a majority stake in Coyle Hamilton, Hugh Governey netted around €7m.

Governey was the biggest shareholder in the 100-year-old insurance brokers, which he and 42 other senior executives bought out in 1995.

A native of Carlow, his family were well known in the town's business and political life. His father had businesses including a mineral water factory and a grocery shop, where Governey got his first work experience during his school holidays.

After completing his Leaving Cert in 1960 in the local CBS, he got a job as an insurance clerk at Royal Exchange Assurance in Dublin.

Keen to get into broking rather than selling one firm's products, in 1965 he began working for VP Phillips & Co, a firm of brokers based in Dame Street.

In 1970 VP Phillips and two other companies came together to form the Coyle Hamilton group, a personal and corporate insurance broking business. Governey progressed to become MD of the corporate broking division in 1985 and then group CEO in 2000.

When global heavyweight Willis bought a 56 per cent share in 2004, Coyle Hamilton had annual revenue of about €50m, 500 employees, and offices in Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Belfast and London.

Governey headed up the new merged business entity, Coyle Hamilton Willis, but a year later he retired.

An accredited mediator, he works with One Resolve, a firm that handles dispute resolution in the workplace and private settings; and with Just Sport Ireland, a sports mediation organisation.

He chairs the Dublin Business Innovation Centre and is a board member of the Irish Credit Bureau and the Rehab charity organisation.

Married to Christine, they have two grown-up children and live in Rathmines.

Sunday Independent

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