Business & Finance releases the annual CEO 100 list recognising the top CEOs operating in Ireland.
As 2019 draws to a close, it is our pleasure to once again curate and release the annual Business & Finance CEO 100 Index. The Index is an in-depth and impartial look at the best-performing CEOs leading businesses in Ireland today and across 2019 and we take great pride in making sure that this Index is a broad representation of excellence in Irish business, taking in disruptors, innovators and visionary leaders.
It is never an easy task to compile, such is the strength of leadership and world class companies operating on these shores. We have selected but a small sample to profile here, to give a flavour of the variety, the experience and the talent operating in the Irish business community. Looking ahead to 2019 we can only predict that the quality and calibre of the business leaders will continue to go from strength to strength and we look forward to continuing our journey alongside them.
Part 1 (A-C) – Part 2 (C-F) – Part 3 (F-L) – Part 4 (L-P) – Part 5 (P-T)
Francesca McDonagh, Group CEO
Bank of Ireland
Appointed Group CEO in 2017, Francesca is one of the leading bankers in Europe and has helped advise UK governmental initiatives on encouraging more women to take on top jobs in the banking sector. She worked at HSBC for 20 years where she held top positions in the Middle East, North Africa and Hong Kong, and earned an OBE for services to banking.
Gareth Lambe, General Manager Ireland
As a General Manager, Lambe is responsible for the health and success of Facebook’s International Headquarters in Dublin, employing over 1,600 people, with plans to double that figure announced in March of this year. Lambe has held a variety of roles in Facebook since joining in 2011 from his previous role as Director of Merchant Services EMEA at PayPal.
Gavin Slark, CEO
Gavin joined Grafton Group plc. as a member of the board and Chief Executive Designate in April 2011 and was appointed Chief Executive Officer in July of the same year. He is currently a Non-Executive Director of Galliford Try plc., a UK house-building and construction group. He was previously Group Chief Executive of BSS Group plc.
Gene Murtagh, CEO
Appointed to the board in 1999, Gene was previously Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Kingspan from 2003 to 2005. Prior to this he was Managing Director of the Group’s Insulated Panel business and of the Environmental business. He joined Kingspan in 1993 and has a vast knowledge of business as well as building materials and energy efficiency.
Ger Rabbette, CEO
Ger Rabbette, an industry veteran, joined the team at Uniphar in 2010 coming from Celesio, where he was Managing Director of Movianto and Head of Celesio Manufacturing Solutions. He is a Chartered Accountant by training and has held a range of senior positions in supply chain with Cahill May Roberts and the wider Celesio Group. He was appointed Chief Executive Officer in 2010. Under the leadership of Mr. Rabbette, Uniphar has diversified into higher margin commercial services, which set the scene for the company’s IPO in July of this year, when it generated €135m.
Gerard Boylan, CEO
In 1999, Gerard joined Top Oil as Financial Projects Manager and has been promoted through various roles, including Finance Director and Commercial Director. He was appointed to General Manager of Top Oil in 2006 and then CEO at the end of 2009. He previously worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers and is a qualified chartered accountant.
Gerard Campbell, Group CEO
With experience spanning 36 years in the industry, Gerard Campbell has overseen the cost management on some of the largest developments in Ireland, including the Dublin Docklands Redevelopment, Montevetro and the Ballymun Regeneration Project. He was heavily involved in the program development of IBM in Ireland and the IFSC in the Docklands, and has extensive experience in the Middle East, having worked on the program development for Mobily. He played a fundamental role in the internationalization of Linesight in 2008, which has resulted in increasing company revenue by 60%.
Gordon Lawlor, Managing Director
Gordon Lawlor took over as managing director for Circle K in Ireland in August 2019. Prior to this he served as Fuels Director in the company. Gordon has significant industry expertise having held several management and leadership roles in the fuel and convenience retail sector over the last 21 years. He worked for ExxonMobil for 17 years – in Ireland with Esso Ireland, and internationally with ExxonMobil in both Brussels and London. He also led the Esso business in Ireland as its Chairman and Director from 2012 until its acquisition by Topaz Energy in 2015.
Harry Hughes, CEO
Portwest is a world-leading workwear company owned and operated by brothers Cathal, Harry and Owen Hughes. After studying and then working for seven years in the UK, Harry returned to the family business in 1978. Portwest operate global distribution from bases in the UK, Ireland, Poland, Dubai, Australia and the USA, manufacturing facilities in Bangladesh, Myanmar and China, and customer support staff in over 120 countries.
Ian Thom, Group CEO
Ian has been the Group Chief Executive of Viridian Group Limited since February 2011. A barrister by profession, he served as General Counsel to the Group since 2001 and as its Company Secretary since 2001. He assumed executive responsibility for Power NI’s supply and power procurement businesses in September 2007. He has also previously served as Company Secretary at EI Ventures Ltd., Company Secretary of Northern Ireland Electricity Limited and as European Legal Director for OSI International Foods
Imelda Hurley, CEO
Taking up the role of CEO of Coillte in November 2019, Imelda is a Non-Executive Director and Audit Committee Member of Total Produce Plc and is also a member of the Audit and Risk Committee of the University of Limerick. She was previously an Executive Director, Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary of agri-services group, Origin Enterprises plc. Prior to joining Origin, Imelda was based in Hong Kong and the People’s Republic of China where she was Chief Financial Officer and Head of Sustainability for PCH International. In addition, she worked with Greencore Group plc, where, over a ten-year period she held a number of senior leadership positions including Group Finance Director and Finance Director of the Convenience Foods Division.
JD Buckley, Managing Director
Appointed to lead BSkyB’s operations in Ireland in May 2012, JD Buckley has over twenty years of experience in management and strategy. Previously, he served in leadership positions at PwC, Digicel, in addition to managing his own independent business consultancy. Since joining Sky, he has grown the team from 40 to 1,000 people, launching Sky Broadband, NOW TV, and overseeing a broadcast partnership between Sky and the GAA.
Joanne McEntaggart, Managing Director Ireland
Joanne held a number of senior posts before joining First Names Group as Business Development Director in 2015. She was a director in NCB Stockbrokers’ structured finance and funds division, and subsequently moved to Capita where she was variously Head of Operations, Transition Director and Business Development Director. Under her guidance, IQ-EQ’s Irish operation has significantly expanded its structured finance team. She was promoted to Co-Managing Director of First Names Group for Ireland in May 2016 and to Managing Director in April 2017—First Names Group joined forces with SGG Group in 2018 and then collectively rebranded as IQ-EQ in March 2019.
Joe Purcell, CEO
Mincon appointed Joe Purcell as chief executive in 2015; he is also Chief Technical Officer, having worked for the group since graduating as a Mechanical Engineer in 1988. Joe was appointed as Chief Technical Officer for the Mincon Group on his return from Australia in 1998. Mincon manufactures mining tools with manufacturing facilities in Shannon, Ireland; in Benton, Illinois; in Perth, Australia; and in North Bay, Canada. It also has subsidiaries in Ireland, Sweden, USA, Peru, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Namibia, Ghana and West Africa.
John Donnelly, Country Leader Ireland
With Oracle since 2003, John Donnelly has served in a number of roles including Regional Sales Director and Technology Sales Director. With a background in Chemical Engineering, he has also worked with Reuters and Fujitsu in his early career. As Oracle Country Leader he is focused on helping his customers understand the benefits of Oracle Cloud and ultimately gain real business outcomes from their deployment of these Solutions.
John Jordan, CEO
Prior to his appointment as CEO of Ornua in 2018, John Jordan was CEO of Ornua Foods Europe, Middle East Africa and Asia. His role included the regional development of Ornua’s iconic brand portfolio including Kerrygold and Pilgrim’s Choice. John was previously CEO at DPI Speciality Foods, a division of Ornua and the third largest specialty food distributor in the US. Prior to this he held the position of Marketing Director of Consumer Foods at Ornua, responsible for the strategic direction and development of the Ornua brands portfolio and preceding that held a variety of senior commercial roles within the organisation both in the corporate office and within international subsidiaries.
John Purdy, CEO
John Purdy has been at the helm of Ergo for over 25 years as co-founder and CEO, spinning off two companies along the way – Fenergo and FlowForma – and winning the prestigious EY Industry Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2014 and Person of the Year at the 2011 ICT Excellence Awards. Under John’s leadership, Ergo has grown organically and through acquisition (CDSoft, iSite, Micromail) evolving into a €70m business with nearly 500 employees and a culture that reflects his capacity for continuous reinvention.
Julie Sinnamon, CEO
CEO of Enterprise Ireland since November 2013, Julie held a number of senior public-sector positions constituting a 30-year career in Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland. She has managed the evaluation division and equity portfolio in Enterprise Ireland. In 2015, Julie was appointed to the Investment Committee of the Irish Strategic Investment Fund, part of the National Treasury Management Agency.
Liam Nagle, CEO
Immersed in many C-suite and varied roles throughout his career, Liam began in finance at Apple which led him to assume a General Manager role at Intel in 1991. This took him into telecoms and optical components with Nortel Networks and Bookham Technology. Before becoming CEO of Norbrook he was CEO of SISK and Chairman of SISK Healthcare Group.