60 seconds with: Tom Dennigan, Continental Tyres Ireland

Business, Interviews, Ireland | Tue 20 Mar | Author – Business & Finance
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Tom Dennigan, General Sales Manager, Continental Tyres Ireland

Tom Dennigan, General Sales Manager, Continental Tyres Ireland, takes on the Business & Finance 60-second interview challenge.


Q. What was your first job?

My first job was in my school days in the animal by-products industry. It was dirty and hard work but great fun.

Q. What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?

Being appointed General Manager of Continental Tyre Group in Ireland over four years ago. Having worked in the tyre industry for almost 20 years I had always admired Continental as one of the biggest and best companies in the automotive sector.

Q. In three words or less, how do you define success?

Health, happiness and financial security (it’s not quite the same as wealth).

Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

“Remember it’s all about people”. A boss that I had some years ago, who is now retired, would always ask about the people that we are dealing with, be they customers or suppliers. He was always one to remind his team that decisions are made by people, not computers or systems. In business these days we see less focus on relationships and establishing credibility and trust I think– the focus is more on short-term gain. But for me these are the most important factors in any business situation.

Q. How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

By setting goals – short, medium and long term. In the short term it can be as simple as having a list of tasks on a daily/weekly basis. The logic is that if you don’t set yourself targets and goals, then you’ve nothing to aim at and you’ll miss the opportunity for that sense of achievement when you finish a task or accomplish something.

It’s a very simple thing to do. Of course support, recognition and some fun are also important at all levels to support motivation.

Q. If you could step into the shoes of one business person for a day, who would it be and why?

I have a particular high regard for many great Irish business people like Tony Ryan, Tony O’Reilly and Denis Brosnan who grew indigenous Irish businesses into global organisations. One other that springs to mind is John Teeling, academic, explorer, serial entrepreneur and whiskey distiller. Mr. Teeling holds the distinction of setting up more listed companies on a stock exchange that any other Irishman. I would love to step into his shoes for a day in that hope that some of his entrepreneurial spirit might rub off on me!

Q. How do you relax?

Reading, walking, motorcycling, kayaking – in that order. This year I definitely intend to increase the amount of time that I’ll spend on my motorbike. I also keep saying that I must do more kayaking.

Q. What’s your motto?

No time for regrets, let’s keep moving ahead. I always see the positive side of things; we learn from the past, but I always look to the future with optimism and enthusiasm.

Q. What are your aspirations for the future of the business?

To oversee the continual growth and development of the Continental Tyre Group business in Ireland while ensuring that our customers come on that journey with us. We want to achieve zero fatalities, zero injuries and zero accidents on our roads. We are combining our premium tyre technology and our automotive safety systems to create a world without accidents.

No time for regrets, let’s keep moving ahead. I always see the positive side of things; we learn from the past, but I always look to the future with optimism and enthusiasm.

Continental has been a pioneer in road safety for more than 140 years. Today, the company takes this claim to the next level with Vision Zero.