Sunday 18 November 2018

Howard Kilroy

MARTIN FITZPATRICK HOWARD Kilroy is pretty much retired and "smelling the roses" now, just as he promised to do when he stepped down from the Smurfit board several years ago. But he has taken a while to wind down his interests and slip away from his other commitments.

An accountant, Howard Kilroy was educated at the High School in Rathgar and spent some of his early career working for one of the big multinational food companies before returning to establish the career for which he is best known, CFO at Smurfits. While Michael Smurfit was credited with the dynamism that turned Smurfits into a world leader, Kilroy designed the complicated financial mechanisms to smooth that extraordinary growth.

The ease with which he could find a path to the world's most powerful bankers - and his perceived comfort when he got there - ensured that he was much sought after as a non-executive director. When Waterford Wedgwood got into trouble, he helped it extricate itself from its problems. And, once he left Smurfits, he was offered the Governorship of the Bank of Ireland.

He was within an ace of making a lasting mark in the banking business when he led the failed effort to merge BoI with Alliance & Leicester.

Howard Kilroy has tended to let his expiring directorships drop. He has slipped off the board of CRH, and other boards too. Instead he is doing things like taking an icebreaker to the Antarctic. He retains his involvement in the scout movement and he still sits as chairman of the investment committee of the World Scout Federation.

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