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)
Margaret Heffernan, CEO
While her daughter Anne and niece Sharon McMahon are both directors and rumoured to be taking over the day-to-day running of the family business, the formidable and secretive Margaret Heffernan stills helms the operation, which boasts a 21.6% share of the highly competitive Irish grocery market. A strategy of clever high end collaborations has raised the profile of their clothing and homewares offerings in recent years.
Margaret Sweeney, CEO
Margaret Sweeney has been CEO of Ires Reit since November 2017, where she has also been an Executive Board Director since March 2016. During her tenure, the former chief executive of DAA and Postbank Ireland has seen revenue from investment properties increase from €44.7 million to €50.6 million in 2018 and profits from €65.1 million to €119.8 million in the same time period. Ms Sweeney qualified as a chartered accountant with KPMG in 1985 and stayed with the firm for 15 years rising to the role of Director before moving on Chief Executive at the Dublin Airport Authority for 8 years.
Mark Foley, CEO
Mark Foley joined Eirgrid as Chief Executive in June 2018, coming from Coillte, where he was managing director of the land solutions business, having previously held the position of managing director of Coillte Enterprises. Before joining Coillte, Mr Foley was the director of capital programmes at Dublin Airport Authority.
Martin McVicar, CEO
Martin McVicar co-founded Combilift in 1998. His career in engineering started with a summer job at truck-mounted forklift manufacturers Moffett Engineering, where he was so enthused with the industry that he later became Moffett’s Chief Engineer. He started Combilift when he was 26, in 1998, and the Monaghan company now exports to 85 countries and turned over €240 million in 2018.
Martin Shanahan, CEO
Prior to becoming CEO of IDA, Martin was Chief Executive of Forfás, the Irish government’s policy advisory agency for enterprise, trade, science, technology and innovation. He joined Forfás in 2005 and has been a major figure in the development of enterprise and innovation in Ireland ever since. He has previously held management responsibilities at Fáilte Ireland and private sector firms.
Maura Quinn, CEO
Institute of Directors
Maura is responsible for leading the strategic development of the Institute of Directors through growing its membership base, expanding the range of services and growing its reputation. She was appointed Chief Executive in April 2008. She has served as Executive Director of UNICEF Ireland for eleven years and a Non-Executive Director of the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital.
Michael Carvill, Managing Director
Michael Carvill has been the Managing Director of Kenmare since 1986. He worked as a contracts engineer in Algeria and as a project engineer at Tara Mines, Ireland. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Engineers of Ireland (FIEI). He holds a BSc in Mechanical Engineering (Queen’s University, Belfast) and an MBA (Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania).
Michael Kelly, Founder and CEO
Michael Kelly, a past winner of Ireland’s EY Technology Entrepreneur of the Year Award, is founder and CEO of FINEOS Corporation. In 2015 Michael was named one of the top 10 most influential executives in the Irish international FinTech sector. He founded the company in 1993, and it has grown internationally as a provider of enterprise software solutions for insurance and government social insurance with offices in North America, Europe and Australia.
Michael Stanley, Co-founder and CEO
Michael Stanley co-founded Cairn Homes plc and was appointed Chief Executive Officer prior to the IPO in June 2015. Michael was previously Chief Executive Officer of Stanley Holdings following its demerger from Shannon Homes. The Stanley family founded Shannon Homes in 1970, and the company was one of Ireland’s largest homebuilders in the 1990s and 2000s. Michael restarted his homebuilding operation in 2014 following the economic downturn in Ireland, and with his business partner Alan McIntosh, this provided the operational platform for Cairn Homes plc.
Pat McCann, CEO
With almost 50 years in the hotel industry, Pat kick-started his career in Ryan Hotels plc. in 1969. He left in 1989 to join Jurys Hotel Group plc. as a General Manager of its main Dublin hotel. He became Chief Executive of Jurys in 2000 until his departure in 2006. He became CEO of Dalata in 2007.
Patrick Coveney, CEO
Before joining Greencore, Patrick served as Managing Partner of McKinsey, Ireland. In May 2014, Patrick was appointed a Non-Executive Director of Glanbia plc. He served as President of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce from February 2012 to February 2013 having been a council member since 2003. Patrick was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Greencore in March 2008.
Paul Coulson, Chairman & CEO
Paul began his career at PwC (then Price Waterhouse) before establishing his own accounting firm, then setting up Yeoman International in 1980 and developing it into a significant leasing and structured finance business. In 1998 he became Chairman of Ardagh Group and initiated its transformation from a small, single plant operation into a leading global packaging company. Ardagh listed its shares on the New York Stock Exchange in March 2017.
Paul Kelly, CEO
Paul is the Chief Executive of Fáilte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority. Paul began his career in Marketing with Procter & Gamble UK and went on to hold senior executive positions with Diageo Ireland, Aviva and the UCD Smurfit Business School. During his career, he has developed many iconic Irish and international marketing campaigns.
A native of Wexford in the south-east of Ireland and a commerce graduate of University College Dublin, Paul brings extensive management and marketing leadership experience to Fáilte Ireland to ensure that the National Tourism Development Authority continues to significantly shape the development of the Irish tourism industry and assists the sector in generating jobs, revenue and economic contribution for Ireland.
Paul Marchant, CEO
Paul has been CEO of Primark since November 2009. He was also the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of New Look Retail Group and served as Managing Director of the Buying, Merchandise and Design divisions. His other major roles include Division Director for Womenswear and Childrenswear at Debenhams and a number of roles at Topman and River Island.
Paul McDade, CEO
Paul McDade was appointed Chief Executive Officer in April 2017, following Tullow’s AGM. He was appointed to the Board of Directors in March 2006. Paul joined Tullow in 2001 and was appointed Chief Operating Officer following the Energy Africa acquisition in 2004, having previously managed Tullow’s UK gas business. An engineer with over 30 years’ experience, Paul has worked in various operational, commercial and management roles with Conoco, Lasmo and ERC. He has broad international experience having worked in the UK North Sea, Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia. Paul holds degrees in civil engineering and petroleum engineering.
Paul Rellis, CEO
Digiweb and Viatel Ireland
In March 2018 Digiweb Group, the largest indigenous Irish provider of enterprise telecommunications, managed cloud and residential broadband services, announced that Paul Rellis, the former Chief Operations Officer for Microsoft Western Europe and former head of Microsoft Ireland has been appointed CEO. Paul is also a former President of Ibec and of the American Chamber of Commerce.
Peter Jackson, CEO
Flutter Entertainment (f.k.a. Paddy Power Betfair)
Peter Jackson stepped into the role of CEO at Paddy Power Betfair in January 2018. He was only appointed head of the British business of the payment processing group Worldpay UK in March 2017. Prior to that, he spent seven years as chief executive of foreign exchange Travelex. Paddy Power Betfair rebranded as Flutter Entertainment in May 2019.
Peter Jackson, CEO
Peter Jackson took up the reins at Pallas Foods in April 2018, leaving his previous role as Managing Director of Aryzta Food Solutions Europe. He had been with Aryzta since 2013 and prior to this was with Kepak, where he moved through a number of roles, most latterly serving as Chief Executive from 2006-2013.
Peter Keeling, CEO
Peter founded Diaceutics in 2005. Diaceutics works with the world’s top pharmaceutical companies and utilises its global network of laboratories to help deliver better testing, more efficient diagnosis and more effective treatment for patients. Diaceutics has grown significantly with 60% annual growth year-on-year for the last three years, and currently works with 31 out of the top 35 pharmaceutical companies in the world.
Peter Roebben, CEO
KBC Bank Ireland
Peeter Roebben was appointed CEO of KBC Bank Ireland in March 2019. Prior to this he served as Senior General Manager Group Credit Risk at KBC Group’s Head Office in Brussels. Between 2010 and 2017 he served as Senior Managing Director and member of the Executive Committee of K&H Bank & Insurance in Budapest (Hungary), responsible first for Credit Management and Human Resources, and later for the Business Banking Division, comprising Corporate & SME banking, Financial Markets, Leasing and Factoring.