Business World

Sunday 17 December 2017

Cream of the Irish crop overseas

A good education certainly pays off. Irish graduates are in some of the top positions abroad in the world's biggest and most powerful corporations. John Reynolds lists 30 key Irish movers and shakers on the global business stage

Outside of the well known pathfinders such as Peter Sutherland at Goldman Sachs, Niall Fitzgerald at Reuters and Willie Walsh at British Airways, a new breed of Irish graduate has taken the world by the scruff of its neck -- and they have risen right to the top of such global giants as Facebook, Google and Apple.

They have graduated from Irish universities and left the country to seek fame and fortune. And boy, are they ever succeding.

These are the people with the smarts and the skills who need to be tapped up for their skills and expertise as Ireland seeks to rebuild its fragile economy. Take note of their names.

Niall O'Connor

Chief information officer, Apple

UL graduate in computer science and one of the top Irish people in Silicon Valley, O'Connor has been CIO for the iPod and iPhone maker since 1991.

Cathal McCarthy

Senior director, worldwide sales and servicing, Apple

UCC and NUI Maynooth-educated Corkman McCarthy, 40, has global responsibility for a significant business division of the Cupertino-headquartered US electronic gadget maker.

Lorraine Twohill

Leader global marketing team, Google

Since 2003, Carlow native Twohill has played a pivotal role in Google's expansion outside of the US and into Europe. A graduate of DCU, she oversees global web, video, TV, billboard and mobile media campaigns for the company.

Deirdre Jones

Customer marketing manager, Facebook

Tipperary native Jones, 33, was a PA for former Google Ireland boss John Herlihy before she jumped ship to Facebook, where she is now in a senior marketing role at its US headquarters.

Tony Dowling

CFO, Ogilvy and Mather, China

DIT-educated Dubliner Dowling is the number two at advertising behemoth Ogilvy and Mather's business in China.

Mark Garvey

CFO, Sara Lee Corporation

UCD-educated Dubliner Garvey, a chartered accountant, became the number two at the Chicago-based food giant, which has annual sales of $10bn, in January.

Adele Cooper

Director of global marketing and communications, Facebook

Stanford and Harvard Business School-educated Dubliner Cooper jumped ship at Google last year to head up Facebook's global marketing and communications from California.

Colm Kelleher

Co-president of institutional securities, Morgan Stanley

Overseeing the money-making powerhouse at Morgan Stanley and responsible for its highest-earning activities, Oxford-educated Irishman Kelleher is regarded as one of the most powerful investment bankers on Wall Street.

Adrian Jones

Managing director, Goldman Sachs merchant banking division

New York-based Roscommon native Jones, 47, is MD of the firm's merchant banking arm and sits on its global investment committee. Educated at UCG, UCD and Harvard, he served in the Irish Army from 1981 to 1989.

Alex O Cinneide

Head of investments, Masdar

After stints in London and New York, Dubliner and Trinity College graduate O Cinneide oversees $540m (€373m) of investments through two funds for Masdar, a state-backed Abu Dhabi green technology investment firm.

Conrad Burke

General manager, DuPont Innovalight

Bray native Burke, a Trinity and UCD physics graduate, sold his emerging solar energy technology firm to global chemicals giant DuPont this month, netting himself and his investors over $60m.

Keith Collins

Chief accounting officer, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority

Clongowes Wood and Trinity-educated accountant Irishman Collins, 52, joined the oil-rich emirate's $600bn sovereign wealth fund last October, taking up a role as chief number-cruncher.

Alan Ennis

President and CEO, Revlon

Dubliner Ennis, 41, now based in New Jersey, heads up cosmetics firm Revlon, having worked there since 2005. The UCD commerce graduate is also a qualified accountant and has an MBA.

Jonathan Fitzpatrick

Executive VP and chief brand and operations officer, Burger King

Clontarf native and Smurfit School of Business graduate Fitzpatrick, 41, based in Switzerland, oversees much of the Whopper-maker's global business.

Geraldine O'Grady

Senior innovation manager, Kraft Foods EU coffee division

UCC and DIT-educated Bantry native O'Grady, 34, based in Zurich has her work cut out looking for new ways to ensure that Maxwell House coffee drinkers across Europe get the best tasting cuppa.

James Hogan


Dubliner and UCD Commerce graduate Hogan, 46, has worked around the world in his more than 20 years with HSBC. Based in Baghdad, he is now helping it become one of the leading banks in war-torn Iraq.

Declan Sheehan

Head of private banking, UK & Ireland, HSBC

Following stints in Tokyo, Hong Kong, New York and Geneva, Trinity economics graduate Sheehan, 49, a Dubliner and son of a retired Aer Lingus pilot, oversees HSBC's London-based private banking operation for British and Irish clients.

Tom Kelly

Managing director, Blackstone Group

Roscommon native and MIT graduate Kelly, 41, a seasoned investment banker matches investment opportunities with investors such as hedge funds, sovereign wealth funds and venture capitalists for Blackstone, one of the world's largest private equity funds.

Aaron Regent

President/CEO, Barrick Gold Corp

Dubliner Regent, 45, a qualified accountant, heads up Toronto-headquartered Barrick, which has 26 mines around the world and three under construction.

Aodan Coburn

Executive VP worldwide operations and licensing, Sony

One of more than a dozen Irish people working in senior roles with electronics and entertainment giant Sony and its sister company, mobile phone maker Sony Ericsson, Kells native Coburn, 45, based in LA, oversees DVD releases and film deals around the world.

Anne Sawbridge

General manager fish, Birds Eye

After stints with Johnson & Johnson, via a fun-sounding head of global chocolate innovation role at Cadbury, UCD graduate Sawbridge left the chocolate maker in March and now runs UK frozen food giant Birds Eye's fish business.

Eddie O'Brien

VP US original equipment manufacturer sales, Microsoft

Corkman O'Brien, 44, a UCC graduate, runs the software and IT giant's multi-billion dollar business bundling software with phones and computers for the US market.

Anne Kelleher

VP technology and manufacturing, Intel

Engineering graduate and Macroom native Kelleher, 45, is one of three Irish VPs of Intel. She runs its Fab11X chip-making plant in New Mexico.

Seamus Malone

Animator, Sony Imageworks

Dubliner and Ballyfermot College graduate Malone, who won an Emmy and a Bafta last year for directing Shaun the Sheep, is the lead animator on expected Christmas hit Arthur Christmas.

Niall Wall

VP & general manager, Symantec

UCG-educated Athy native Wall, 44, runs the software giant's worldwide antivirus and internet security business, Norton.

Lorna Donohoe

Senior VP global strategic marketing, Playboy

LA-based Dubliner, DIT graduate and former publishing temp Donohoe oversees PR and global marketing for the Playboy empire.

Jim O'Sullivan

Chief economist, MF Global

New York-based Trinity graduate O'Sullivan, 48, who grew up in Offaly, keeps the traders at former head of Goldman Sachs-led MF Global informed on global economics.

Emma Delaney

Commercial director, BP Iraq

After various positions in France, Germany and Asia, UK-based Trinity graduate Delaney, 38, from Dublin is now commercial director of its Iraq business.

Mark Dillon

Snr director business, Sony Music

New York-based, DBS-educated Killiney native Dillon, 40, has been with the Beyonce-to-Foo Fighters music label for 10 years. He oversees legal and financial aspects of recording projects.

Shane Naughton

CFO, EMI Music

UCD law graduate and chartered accountant Naughton, 44, from Dublin, worked internationally for several companies including Sky, Dell, UBM and Coca-Cola before joining Coldplay-to-Beatles music label EMI Music to oversee its global finance operations.

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