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The top Irish 50 business men and women in the Bric countries


Drawn by the huge potential of emerging Bric markets, the Irish are making their fortunes on foreign shores. Business Editor Nick Webb, Roisin Burke, Dean Van Nguyen, John Reynolds, and Harry Leech look at the top 50 Irish businessmen and women who are leading the way in Brazil, Russia, India and China

THE Irish are making waves on new frontiers. With huge untapped markets, rapidly increasing populations and dynamic economics, the Bric countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – are like catnip for Irish exporters and entrepreneurs seeking fresh challenges. Irish trade missions have only scratched the surface of the huge potential of these new markets. There are already pathfinders out there. Irish men and women who have packed their bags and travelled to the other side of the world to make their fortune. And boy have some of them succeeded big time.

Avril Conroy

Rosneft, Russia

Athlone's Avril Conroy became director of resources giant Rosneft's regional sales department earlier this year. She was appointed by Igor Sechin, one of the most powerful men in Russia and possibly President Putin's closest confidante. She's now one of the top players at Russia's biggest oil company following its $55bn merger with TNK-BP.

The marketing and retail whizz moved to Russia in the early Nineties, joining BP in 1998. She helped establish BP's network of filling stations across Russia. A move to Russian oil firm TNK-BP followed, which saw her work in the downstream unit and later as head of the performance unit of its Central Europe division.

In 2010, Conroy left the oil business to become chief operating officer designate of Walmart (Russia). A year later, she switched to Russia's largest car importer Inchcape. The headhunters returned and lured her back to TNK-BP as a regional veepee.

Probably Ireland's most powerful and best-connected executive in Russia.

Dr Mark Lyons

Alltech, China

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The 37-year-old number two to his father Dr Pearse Lyons and an heir to the $1bn annual sales brewing and animal nutrition empire Alltech, Lyons speaks five languages and has a Master's and a PhD to his name.

Having expanded its operations to Mexico and Brazil as director of North America, he relocated to Beijing early last year to focus on the company's 'China Now' strategy to increase its research, recruitment, education, strategic partnerships and local production there.

Paul McGillicuddy

Carberry Synergy, Brazil

The 34-year-old Corkman McGillicuddy is based near Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city, and helms the Latin American operations of Cork food ingredients, flavours and cheese-maker giant the Carbery Group as its general manager and director of Synergy Flavours Brazil.

Having done business in the country since 2007, the firm opened a flavour creation laboratory and production facility there last year. It supplies flavour ingredients to some of the biggest food and drink makers in the region.

Colman Deegan

CFO, Vodafone India (VIL)

India's economy has been taking centre stage over the last month as the rupee gets hammered. But it's still a market of more than one billion people.

Prior to taking on the role of chief financial officer of Vodafone's Indian operations in August 2011, Colman Deegan played an important role in Vodafone's investment in Vodafone Essar Ltd (VEL) in 2007 and has since been key in all the company's Indian business development activity, including the formation of Indus Towers, an Indian joint venture offering services to telecom operators, in December 2007.

Deegan joined the Vodafone Group in 1998 and has beavered away in various roles including group M&A director where he led the strategy, management and execution of all material M&A.

Tony Maher

Da Vinci Capital, Russia

Kerryman Tony Maher is a serious mover and shaker in Moscow. The Faha native ran WBD, the biggest Russian food and beverage producer, from 2006 onwards. WBD was the first Russian company to float on New York stock markets after the break up of the Soviet Union and the raft of privatisations. Pepsico spent €5.8bn to buy a majority stake in the business in 2011. Before being recruited to head up WBD by billionaire Sergei Plastinin, Maher was Coca Cola's regional manager for its Western, Central and Eastern European section.

Since exiting WBD, Maher has become an influential rainmaker in the Russian private equity sector, having bought into the $400m Da Vinci Capital Management last year. The firm IPOed the Moscow Stock Exchange in a $500m deal in February and is limbering up to raise $200m for a new fund for small and medium sized businesses in the IT and financial sectors.

David Rath

Siemens, India

New Delhi-based DCU electronic engineering graduate Rath oversees a team of 80 salespeople and engineers as a regional operations manager with Nokia Siemens Networks.

With more than 15 years in the industry, he has played a pivotal part in helping the company market and roll out GSM, 3G and LTE technology that powers mobile phone networks in Poland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Russia, the Netherlands and, for the past four years, India.

Ian Lahiffe

Richard Keenan & Co, China

Joining innovative farm engineering group Richard Keenan and Co in April of last year, Ian Lahiffe now fronts the firm's commercial strategy in Asia. Nurturing relationships with a broad range of clients, earlier this year he helped secure a €15m deal with dairy company Shanghai Yanhua and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Mechanisation Sciences, a major Chinese State-owned Enterprise.

In addition, Lahiffe has developed strong government relations in China, which has helped lead to the formation of the China-Ireland Dairy Science and Technology Centre, of which Keenan is an executive partner.

An accomplished academic, Lahiffe has also completed a PG Diploma in Mandarin Studies on a Chinese Government Scholarship in Xi'an Jiaotong University, and speaks fluent Mandarin.

Declan O'Sullivan

Mercury Engineering, Russia

Vast Dublin-based specialist engineering and electrical contractors Mercury Engineering secured a bumper deal last year when IXcellerate, which bills itself as "Moscow's premier carrier neutral data centre", contracted the firm for the first phase of its new 15,000 sqm Moscow DataCenter Campus. The deal reflected Mercury's glowing reputation in the Russia market and heading up its €150m operations there is Wexford IT alumni member Declan O'Sullivan. As general manager, O'Sullivan steers the company's Russian operations, including the construction of office interiors and specialist mechanical and electrical projects.

Dan O'Brien

Kerry Group, Latin America, Brazil

Having spent over a decade with Tralee-based food and beverage behemoth Kerry, Dan O'Brien relocated to Brazil in 2007, working as a commercial accountant, commercial director and, as of July of this year, president of Beverage Ingredients and Flavours for the company's operations in Latin America.

O'Brien is now charged with "developing, manufacturing and delivering integrated solutions for the food and beverage industry in the region". In English, that means that he has to bring home the bacon.

James Corrigan

Sberbank, Russia

Former Jones Lang LaSalle Capital markets chief Corrigan has carved out a niche as one of the shrewdest bankers in the fast growing Russian market.

After studying business and Russian in Trinity, Corrigan moved to Russia. After making a name for himself in the real estate sector, he joined VTB Capital as its executive director of Global Banking. When Sberbank took over brokerage Troika Dialogue, it tapped the Moscow-based Corrigan to come in as managing director of its investment banking outfit. If there's a multi-billion dollar real estate going down in Russia, chances are that Corrigan has some of the action. The $60bn valued Sberbank is the 19th biggest bank in the world.

James Meaney

Former COO OI Telecoms, Brazil

Meaney has just left Oi Telecoms, Brazil's fourth largest telecoms and mobile operator. He was one of the company's top executives, serving as chief operating officer. The Rio-based company's share price promptly tumbled 10 per cent.

After studying in the US, Meaney went to Wall Street working with Credit Suisse in the late Eighties before moving into the telecoms and consultancy sector. He switched to Latin America with Global Crossing before joining up with Oi Telecom in 2010, where he plugged away in a variety of positions before becoming COO in early 2011.

Bill Condon

Multitude Group, Hong Kong

Dubliner Bill Condon first moved to China in 1999 when he set up the MBC foreign study business, to cater for Chinese students seeking further education abroad. The company expanded into restaurants, leisure and art. Condon is a well known philanthropist in Hong Kong and a regular contributor to local newspapers.

He's branched out into specialist private equity in recent years, with a new contemporary art-focused fund being put together by his Multitude group.

Conor Lenihan

Skolkovo Foundation, Russia

Former Fianna Fail Minister for Innovation Conor Lenihan left Ireland after the March 2011 General Election.

He joined up with Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg as one of his key executives at the vast Skolkovo innovation campus just outside Moscow. Lenihan is like a one-man IDA for the campus, meeting up with high-level global companies and trying to persuade them to move research projects to Russia.

While the Skolkovo project was kicked about during a political wrangle last year, a new round of $4bn in funding has just been made available.

James Cleary

JBS FrangoSul, Brazil

Having moved to Brazil in the early Nineties, 48-year-old Sligo man Cleary has risen through the ranks of the local food industry, becoming president and CEO of food giant JBS's new chicken processing operation.

The finance major is now heading up the Brazilian part of a business that chops up and processes over nine million chickens per day. Ireland produces about 70 million chickens per year.

Richard Barrett

Forterra, China

The 54-year-old Mayo-born qualified barrister and co-founder of Nama top 10 developer Treasury Holdings is based in China, where he has owned an 18 per cent stake in Forterra Trust, formerly Treasury China Trust.

The Singapore-listed commercial property outfit has €1.73bn of assets in Shanghai, Beijing and Qingdao and reported €679m of profits and €60m of revenue last year.

He has also been involved in a number of renewable energy companies in Ireland and Europe.

Paul Costigan

Senseg, Hong Kong

Hong-Kong and Taipei-based electronics entrepreneur Costigan, 49, from Carlow, is the CEO of Finnish company Senseg, a maker of touchscreen technology that makes phone, tablet and other touchscreens feel more authentic and textured – rough surfaces, hard edges, better clicking buttons matching what is on the screen, for example.

Industry watchers view the company as one of Finland's hottest start-ups and last year it was rumoured the company's technology might be used in Apple's iPads in the near future.

Cliona Murphy

Pepsico, China

As R&D director for Pepsico Food Asia Pacific, Shanghai-based Trinity graduate and Louth native Murphy's job is to find out about the tastes of its Asian customers, which include anything from the food and drink giant's Quaker Oats to lemon tea-flavour crisps and ones made from cucumber.

She also co-ordinates the Le Cheile children's programme of Irish culture in the booming city and is a member of the Irish Chamber of Commerce in China.

Johnny O'Reilly

Filmmaker, Russia

Dubliner Johnny O'Reilly is now one of the hottest film makers in the Russian market, following the success of his chiller The Weather Station in 2010. The breakthrough cult hit starred two of Russian's hippest new stars and prompted industry bible Variety to forecast great things for the 42-year-old film maker... such as a big-budget Hollywood remake

TCD-educated Russian graduate O'Reilly is now filming another Russian-language movie, Moscow Never Sleeps.

James McGeough

Cathay Asia

McGeough is the China director of Cathay Asia, a US business consulting and training, specialising in HR and corporate development. Born in Ireland and educated in Australia and New Zealand, McGeogh has had an extensive career in mining, technology and management consulting.

Cathay Asia clients have included Baxter Healthcare, Thermo King-Ingersoll Rand, Scholle and Polartech, and other large corporations.

McGeogh has published white papers on wireless applications and is past-chairman of the San Francisco-convened Marcus Evans MLS Industry Conference, and is a guest lecturer at Hong Kong University SPACE Campus.

David Lawlor

Kellogg's & CIS, Russia

Kellogg's entered the Russian market in 2008 when it acquired one of the country's largest cereal, biscuit and cracker manufacturers, United Bakers. David Lawlor moved to Moscow that same year to manage Kellogg's new Russian acquisition – now called Kellogg Rus – and has been involved in revamping the infrastructure and processes of the company's Russian business, which employs approximately 2,000 people in total.

Lawlor has worked in a number of international roles with Kellogg's since 1991, including a stint in Dubai from 1998 to 2003 where he was sent to establish a regional Middle East hub and expand Kellogg's business into the Syrian, Iranian and Iraqi market.

Liam Casey and Imelda Hurley

PCH International, China

Corkman Casey, 47, is Ireland's best-known man in China. He's even got a really unimaginative nickname, "Ireland's Mr China".

Casey and Clonakilty native Hurley are the CEO and CFO (chief financial officer) respectively at 5,000-employee-strong Cork-headquartered PCH International, which manufactures and delivers electronics and accessories for the likes of Dell, Amazon and Apple in the Chinese manufacturing hub of Shenzhen and is rapidly growing its presence in Silicon Valley.

With a last reported turnover of €545m in 2011, last year it bought a company called Lime Lab which will be housed in a huge new product development and engineering services centre to help start-up designers of electronic devices and accessories get their products to market faster.

Chris Weafer

Macro Advisory Partners, Russia

A senior partner with Macro Advisory Partners in Moscow, Dubliner Weafer, 57, is the go-to guy for venture capital and hedge funds and other foreign investors in Russia looking to weigh up its politics and the ups and downs of its economy.

He was recently named best Russian investment strategist in separate polls by Institutional Investor magazine and Thomson Reuters Extel.

His CV includes a stint managing investments for Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund, followed by a year in Bangkok with Natwest Securities and chief strategist roles with Alfa Bank and Russia's largest bank, Sberbank-CIB.

Damian Gavin

C&F Tooling, China

Athenry-based specialist engineering firm C&F Tooling makes sheet metal and racking systems for major industrial players ranging from IBM to Glen Dimplex. In 2008, the $100m-per-year firm expanded to China and set up manufacturing operations in Guangdong. Engineer and production management ace Galvin runs the show for the Irish company in China.

Kieran McManus

PWC, Brazil

Who says that accountants all live boring lives? McManus is lead partner at PWC's Brazil-ian Global Capital Markets Group, which means that he's right at the centre of major buyouts, deals, fundraisings and other corporate high finance in one of the world's most dynamic economies. Northern Irelander McManus is based in Sao Paulo.

Ciaran Lally

Saongroup Asia, China

Former Merrill Lynch and GE Capital banker Ciaran Lally is chief executive of the fast- growing Saongroup Asia, which runs the China, India and Myanmar parts of the online recruiter. Over the last five years Saongroup has expanded spectacularly and now has over 3,000 employees globally. In China alone Saongroup covers 180 cities – that's close to a billion job hunters.

Before taking the hotseat at Saongroup Asia, Lally was one of the founders of hot Irish tech firm Globoforce before leaving to run eBookers UK and Ireland operations. Lally is a fellow of the chartered association of certified accountants and has an MBA in strategic management.

Shane O'Neill

Tesco Global IT Infrastructure, India

With over 20 years' experience in IT with firms such as Accenture, Fidelity Investments and Colt Telecom, DIT electronic engineering graduate O'Neill became Tesco's director of Global IT Infrastructure in Bangalore in 2011.

The office there is the operations and technical HQ for the supermarket giant's 6,600 stores worldwide, and O'Neill's job is to ensure its massive data-hungry IT network runs smoothly and doesn't develop the glitches that seem to plague those annoying self-service checkouts.

Brian Swords

TBWA, China

Swords was appointed MD of ad giant TBWA's bustling Shanghai office in November of 2012. He joined TBWA Shanghai in September 2011 from TBWA's Irish affiliate Cawley Nea, where he spent a very successful term as managing director.

Highly regarded in the Dublin ad scene and by Cawley Nea client McDonald's within Europe, he was headhunted to lead the McDonald's business for TBWA as the company engaged in a massive expansion in China. The fast food retailer will have 2,000 stores in China by the end of 2013.

Swords joined Cawley Nea\TBWA in 1993 and was appointed MD in 2004. He is a past chairman of the Marketing Society in Ireland and past president of the Irish Institute of Advertising Agencies.

Jonathan Egan

Trans-Pacific Engineering & Sourcing Ltd, China

Jonathan Egan is a Celtic Tiger cub who early on staked his future on a genuine tiger economy in Asia. Shortly after graduating from Trinity College's BESS facility with a degree in Economics in 2002, Egan moved to Taiwan to learn Mandarin, studying at the Taipei Language Institute. He has lived and worked in China and Taiwan for the last eight-and-a-half years and, unlike many western business people in China, he now has the distinct advantage of speaking fluent Mandarin.

Egan is China operations director for Trans-Pacific Engineering & Sourcing Ltd, which produces auto components for the North American market and is also co-owner of a secondary commodities brokerage (Green Recycling Services) based in Shanghai.

Cormac Doddy

DTZ, China

Doddy is a chartered surveyor who has been working in the boom-time property market of China since 2007. He spent five years as development manager at the Chinese arm of Treasury Holdings, the international property development and investment company founded by Richard Barrett and Johnny Ronan.

Doddy managed the refurbishment and repositioning of key assets in the Treasury portfolio, including the company's largest development project –the extension of City Centre shopping mall in Hongqiao.

Doddy is currently a senior manager at DTZ China, specialising in divestment strategy and execution for real estate funds across Greater China. He is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and has a Masters degree in International Real Estate Markets from the University of Aberdeen. He received a BA degree in Economics and Politics from University College Dublin.

Colin Kavanagh

Pernod Ricard Brazil

Kavanagh joined an Irish Distillers graduate programme after leaving Trinity with his French and business studies degree. Having served in a number of roles in the Dublin operations, he moved to the Pernod Ricard mothership in Paris in a senior marketing position. In 2006, he crossed the Atlantic to become veepee of marketing at Canada's Corby Distilleries, which is majority owned by the French drinks giant.

The Dublin GAA fan moved to Brazil in 2010 with his wife and family. Kavanagh is marketing director of Pernod Ricard in the fast-growing Brazilian market.

Brendan Waldron

Euroscript China

Waldron has a long history in China and was a founding member of the Ireland China Association. He is currently MD of Euroscript China, which helps customers write, manage and publish content and information in any type of language combination. Prior to that he spent a decade as MD of New Tigers Consulting, which specialised in ad-vising businesses on expanding or building their presence in China.

He previously managed diverse projects as a management/business consultant in the areas of working capital, human resources, and organisational and operational management. Waldron has a Marketing degree from the College of Marketing, Dublin and also has a BA in Chinese Business from Beijing University.

Cyrus Mistry

Tata Group, India

Mistry's mum Patsi was born in a hospital on Dublin's Hatch Street as the Second World War loomed. Her husband Paloonji , one of India's richest industrialists, also has Irish citizenship.

Cyrus Mistry is Irish too. Last year he bagged one of the top jobs in Indian business, becoming chief executive of Tata Group – one of the world's biggest conglomerates. Tata owns everything from Jaguar Motors to hotels, heavy industry and chemicals.

Mistry's family, who were wealthy in their own right due to a long-established construction group, own 18 per cent of Tata.

Mark McCormack

Kerry Asia Pacific, China

Kerry Group is the modern day equivalent of the Dark Ages monasteries which despatched Irish people to the far ends of the world to spread the word.

Athlone's McCormack has been one of Kerry's top executives in Asia since the early 2000s, becoming the point man in 2010. Given that Kerry group has plants in Malaysia, Thailand, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, China, Australia and New Zealand, the Roscrea College man spends a lot of time up in the air.

James Ryan

ESL Express, China

Limerick native James Ryan took an interesting route to working in the logistics business in Asia, graduating with a BA in Fine Arts (Sculpture) from the Limerick School of Art and Design. After graduation he studied for a Masters in Fine Art from the University of Ulster, Belfast. He later studied at the China Academy of Fine Art in Hangzhou, before segueing into the logistics business.

Ryan is now a director of sales and general manager at ESL Express, a US logistics and warehousing company, with a specialisation in relocating foreign workers in China. As well as working in the logistics business, James is also director at 411 Galleries, an art gallery that deals in exhibiting foreign art in China.

Mark McSorley

Taylors International Services, Brazil

McSorley swapped a life running one of the UK's slickest hotels to a life at one of the toughest frontiers in the world. McSorley is Brazil country manager for "life support services" giant Taylors International. Translated from the corporate mumbo jumbo, this means that he is in charge of feeding, clothing and housing thousands of workers and employees working in Brazil's oil and gas sector.

The company, which also operates in places as tricky as Iraq and Afghanistan, had sales north of $55m last year. Rio de Janeiro-based McSorley used to be general manager of the Malmaison Oxford – better known as the prison in The Italian Job. The CBS-educated wild goose trained at Shannon College of Hotel Management.

Damian Thornton

M&W, China

A graduate of Queen's University Belfast, Thornton is business development director at M&W Shanghai Ltd and member of the M&W Life Science Global Leadership team. Thornton has more than 20 years' experience in the pharmaceutical/fine chemical, semiconductor, oil and gas industry, with experience in Ireland, the UK, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Japan, Singapore and China. M&W is a diversified life sciences and, chemicals and electronics company, specialising in hi-tech industry projects, complete design & build solutions for Wafer Fab, New Greenfield Nutritionals, R&D facilities, Display Manufacturing, LEED Gold and High Containment Pharmaceutical and other complex industrial facilities.

Aisling Keane

Credit Suisse, Hong Kong

Keane is a senior player at Credit Suisse's hedge fund administration division based in Hong Kong and Singapore. Prior to that she held senior roles at State Street. A University College Cork graduate, she hails from Limerick originally. Keane is playing a key role in expanding the Credit Suisse back office and administration business across Asia.

Ronan Gould

China Automotive Consultant, China

Having spent close to four years in Beijing as national sales manager for Allianz Global Assistance (formerly Mondial Assistance Group), Ronan Gould left the company in 2011 having overseen the company's automotive client portfolio grow from 12 to 26 brands.

Choosing to remain in the Chinese capital, today Gould draws upon his hefty list of senior contacts by providing freelance consultancy to organisations operating in the country's insurance and automotive markets. In addition, Gould serves on the Irish Network China (INC) committee, maintaining much of the organisation's online presence.

Niall Clancy

EPS Global Brazil

EPS Global is a specialist logistics firm that was set up in Dublin in 1999. Clancy heads up the Brazilian operations, with the firm having a sales office near Sao Paulo and a new programming centre in Manaus right in the heart of the Amazonian rainforests.

Clancy has form when it comes to the Brics, having worked as a business development officer with Liam Casey's China-focused PCH International. He has also spent time at British IT firm CS4B and as a senior engineer at Motorola.

Paul Hussey

Strix, China

Dubliner Hussey has lived in Hong Kong for 13 years. He heads up electronics firm Strix, which makes the inner workings of kettles and other products. According to Strix, its products are used more than a billion times every day.

The Sutton man studied engineering at Trinity before seeking his fortune in Japan. He did time in private equity before joining industrial group Allied Signal, which was expanding in India and China. In 2008, he was head hunted to head up Strix.

Ronan Morley

Invest Wealth Management, Brazil

The burgeoning wealth of Brazil's new middle classes and its resource-fuelled mega rich has led to enormous opportunities in the financial services sector. Irishman Morley is developing the business of wealth manager Invest WM in Sao Paulo. Morley was educated at Limerick University.

Rob Agnew

Marlin & Associates, Hong Kong

Dubliner Rob Agnew heads up boutique investment bank Marlin & Associates' Asian M&A department. He's been advising technology, information and media companies in Asia for the last 15 years.

Before joining Marlin, Agnew led Matrix, an Asian- focused strategic advisory firm. He's previously worked with Reuters in New York.

The UCD-educated financier is active in the Irish business community in Asia, having been Chairman of the Irish Chamber of Commerce of Hong Kong and Asia Pacific Ireland Business Forum.

Justin Cahill


Cahill is a founding partner at Education Media and Publishing Group International, the company started by Riverdeep founder Barry O'Callaghan, where Chariots of Fire director and education pioneer David Puttnam is a director.

With EMPGI billed as a burgeoning global education technology empire, Cahill is charged with setting up and developing the company's business in India, China and developing markets in the Asia Pacific region.

There's a substantial English language learning offshoot in China and Vietnam.

Former BT executive Cahill has worked in telecoms development roles in Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

At one point, EMPGI was considering a float but late last year a restructuring took place that saw almost all of the dozen or so Irish HQ staff let go.

Peter Dillane

Kerry Group, South West Asia

Dillane is responsible for the consumer and food ingredient giant's considerable footprint in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Kerry has considerable and growing interest in South West Asia markets, which deliver a substantial chunk of its Asia region €726m revenue. The Asia market grew by 20 per cent last year alone and it's one that Kerry has a stated aim to continue to invest in developing. It has a manufacturing and sales base in India.

Prior to joining Kerry Group Dillane, a Trinity and Columbia Business School graduate, worked in the food ingredient market in Latin America.

Margaret Lyng

Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Hong Kong

Waterford native Lyng is head of human resources for this Wall Street titan's entire Asia Pacific region.

She studied at the University of Limerick and previously worked at Bausch and Lomb and Motorola.

Charlie Clifton

Aviation consultant, Brazil

Based between Rio de Janeiro and Dalkey, Clifton finished a project in Brazil in April and returns to that neck of the woods later this year.

He was one of the handful of staff working for Ryanair in its startup days. He later ran the Ryans' Tiger Airways operation and was a partner in the family's Irelandia Investments fund.

More recently, Clifton was hired to help run Webjet, a basketcase Brazilian airline eventually bought by GOL Airlines.

His next project is a significant new low-cost airline incarnation, this time in Columbia.

Declan Fearon

Tipperary Crystal, China

Having seen the struggles of Waterford Crystal and then the landing of its discounted stock in Irish, British and US markets, Fearon knew his company needed a new strategy to survive.

He looked to the East. Using a local partner, Tipperary Crystal has set up several stores in China.

Fearon accessed China by painstakingly building a business relationship with Neoglory, a big manufacturer of crystal owned by one of China's richest women and famous rags to riches success, Linda Zhou, and collaborating with her to open outlets.

Donal Galvin

Mizhou Securities, Hong Kong

Galvin ran Mizhou Securities, the Tokyo bonds and equities house's interests outside of Japan until very recently.

Having started his career at Salomon Brothers in the Nineties, he was later head of global financial markets for Asia Pacific and also worked at Rabobank International.

Galvin is set to return to these shores soon, however, joining AIB as its new head of treasury.

Niall O'Loughlin

PM Group, China

Irish-founded international company PM Group oversees major construction projects, providing engineering, architecture and project management services in China's booming construction sector.

O'Loughlin is the company's country manager in China. Based in Shanghai, he oversees capital projects for multinational clients including Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Abbott and Heinz and develops business strategies for the company.

He has a chemical engineering background and has worked for PM Group for over a decade.

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