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)
Phil Kane, Country Manager
Phil Kane is Country Manager for Eaton in Ireland. In this role, she is responsible for implementing Eaton’s commercial strategy and managing relationships with Eaton’s key customers and distribution channels in the region. She has years of experience in business to business sales and project management and has comprehensive knowledge of technology solutions having specialised in this area since 2008.
Robert Finnegan, CEO
Robert Finnegan has been CEO of Three Ireland since it was established in the Irish market in 2005, prior to which he worked in Hong Kong for Three’s parent company, CK Hutchison for 13 years. He served as CEO of its beverage division, Watson’s, which employed 3,000 people and had an annual turnover of $200mn. Prior to his role as CEO at Watson’s, Finnegan held positions as financial controller and finance and strategic planning director at Hutchison for six years. He has also held senior finance roles at Lyons Tetley and Procter & Gamble.
Robert Wilder, Country Chair
Rob Wilder joined Korn Ferry in 2015, spending his first two years with the company in the Middle East as Senior Client Partner and Market Leader. Prior to joining Korn Ferry, Rob was a Partner for over 12 years with leading global executive search and consulting firm CT Partners, based in both London and Dubai—during his time there, he focused on the Technology, Business Professional Services and Financial Services sectors, with a strong emphasis in geographic growth markets and economies.
Ronan Stewart, Chief Executive Officer
Ronan first joined Santos Dumont in 2005 and was appointed Chief Executive Officer in January 2016. Ronan has held a number of technical and commercial roles across a diverse portfolio of asset acquisitions and management, responsible for the technical management of over US$6 billion of assets across a full range of aircraft types and involved in over US$10 billion in commercial aircraft transactions.
Rory Byrne, Chief Executive
Rory Byrne was appointed as Chief Executive of Total Produce on 30 December 2006. Prior to this, Rory was the Managing Director of the Fyffes General Produce division from 2002 and was appointed to the position of Executive Director in 2006. Rory has extensive experience in the fresh produce industry, having joined Fyffes in 1988 and has held a number of senior positions within Fyffes including Finance Director of the Group’s UK business and Managing Director of its Spanish operations.
Rosheen McGuckian, CEO
Appointed CEO of NTR in April 2013, Rosheen has been with the green energy investment firm since 2008 serving as Group Business Development Director and heading up the solar and waste-management projects. Prior to this, she was CEO of Greenstar and of GE Money Ireland, and previously led ESB Power Generation’s business information initiative.
Seamus Hand, Managing Partner
Seamus is the Managing Partner of KPMG in Ireland and is a member of KPMG’s Global and EMA boards. Seamus previously was a partner in KPMG’s financial service practice in Ireland and worked with many global and domestic clients in the asset management, aviation, banking and insurance sectors. Seamus has been with KPMG throughout his career. He joined the firm in 1993 and became a Partner in 2002 after graduating from an accountancy degree at DCU.
Seamus Mulligan, Co-founder & CEO
The serial entrepreneur, most recently co-founder and CEO of Adapt Pharma, cut a USD$735 million deal to sell the company to US-based Emergent Biosolutions. This was his second major pharma deal after selling Azur Pharma, a company he also founded, in an all-share deal that valued Azur at some USD$500 million in 2011, seeing it merge with Jazz Pharmaceuticals in 2012. Prior to that he spent 20 years with Elan Corporation, playing a key role in turning around what was then Ireland’s biggest drug company.
Sharon Cunningham, Co-founder & CEO
Sharon Cunningham has over 10 years’ experience practicing as a Chartered Accountant with vast experience in equity and debt financing, M&A and SOX compliance. Prior to founding Shorla Pharma with her business partner Orlaith Ryan, she was Head of Finance in EirGen Pharma, a subsidiary of OPKO Health Inc. Sharon is a PwC Qualified Chartered Accountant with an MBA from UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and a BSc in Finance from UCC.
Sharon McCooey, Head of Ireland
Senior Director of International Operations and Head of LinkedIn Ireland, Sharon McCooey leads a team of over 1,100 in the company’s new €85 million EMEA headquarters, the group’s only real estate investment outside of the US, underlining the company’s commitment to Ireland. She was appointed to the Board of Directors in August 2011 and was made Senior Director of International Operations in June 2013.
Sinead Fitzmaurice, CEO
Transfermate Global Payments
After training as a chartered accountant at PwC, Sinéad Fitzmaurice began working internationally and was Group Financial Controller with Venner International. She returned to Ireland in 2005, joining The Taxback Group as CFO, where she worked closely with the group CEO, Terry Clune. Five years later, she co-founded TransferMate Global Payments. Since then, TransferMate has handled in excess of $5bn of cross-border payments.
Stephen Brewer, Managing Director
Stephen Brewer has worked in the telecoms industry as CEO with companies such as Cable and Wireless, Vodafone and Digicel. He was Executive CMO at Oracle (formerly Tekelec before being aquired), is currently Chairman of Velona Systems and is an advisor to the National Broadband plan. He was appointed Managing Director of the Magnet Networks Ireland Division in September of this year.
Stephen McCarthy, Managing Director
Stephen McCarthy first introduced large property auctions to Ireland during the recession, and with new venture Bidx1 has moved the auction process online. BidX1 has facilitated the sale of more than €500 million of Irish residential and commercial property in the year since it was founded, and in 2018, private equity house Pollen Street Capital bought a significant stake committing up to £15 million (€16.7 million) of additional financing to help the firm expand into Greek, Spanish and South African markets.
Tina McKenzie, CEO
Tina McKenzie returned to Northern Ireland from London in 2013 to set up the Staffline business here. Her ambitious target at the time was to turnover £100m within five years. By the end of 2018 the business had gone through a period of rapid growth and boasted a turnover of £180m. Prior to this she had spent years with Randstad, working in Northern Ireland, Scotland, The Netherlands and most recently London as an International Account Director and Operations Director. In 2018 she was appointed Chair of the NI Policy Forum for the Federation of Small Businesses in Northern Ireland, and is also the the Honorary Consul of Finland for Northern Ireland.
Tom Browne, CEO
Tom assumed the role of chief operating officer at Aviva Ireland after the UK insurance group’s takeover bid for Friends First in 2017, and became chief executive of Aviva Ireland’s life unit earlier this year. Joining Friends First in 1990, Tom was made Group CEO in 2012 having previously served as CFO. He has also held a number of senior operational roles within Friends First and previously acted as Appointed Actuary for Friends First Life Assurance Company. Before joining Friends First he held senior management positions with Eagle Star (now Zurich Life) and Irish Life.
Tom O’Mahony, CEO
Tom O’Mahony was appointed CEO of Origin on its formation in 2006. Prior to this he held the role of Chief Operations Officer of IAWS. Tom joined IAWS in 1985 and on its public flotation in 1988 to form IAWS Group plc he held a number of senior management positions and was involved in acquisitions, disposals, business integration and financial control within the Group, until his appointment as CEO of Origin.
Tommy Kelly, Founder & CEO
Tommy Kelly founded eShopWorld in 2010. The company is part-owned by Mr. Kelly and Asendia, a joint venture between French postal operator, La Poste, and SwissPost. Mr. Kelly is veteran of the logistics industry, he established a successful forwarding and logistics company with his brother Joe in 1987, named Two Way Forwarding & Logistics. Mr. Kelly was CEO and Managing Director of Two Way until the company was acquired by Aramex in 2006. Mr. Kelly held the position of CEO at Aramex, Europe & North America until 2014 when he became Chief Executive Officer of eShopWorld.
Tony Hanway, CEO
Virgin Media Ireland
Before joining Virgin Media Ireland as CEO in 2015, Tony spent a decade at Telefonica where he was Chief Commercial Officer of Telefonica Deutschland from 2013, and CEO of O2 Ireland from 2011. Before this he was Consumer Director of Telefonica O2 Czech Republic, and worked for almost a decade at AOL Europe where he was latterly Vice President of UK Customer Care and Managing Director of AOL Europe Operations ltd. Tony has over 20 years’ senior level experience in the ICT industry, and has a MSc in Human Resource Management from Leicester University.
Tony Neary, VP of EMEA Operations & General Manager
Tony Neary is VP of EMEA Operations and General Manager at Medtronic in Galway, and has been in this role since 2015. Previously, he was Senior Director of Operations from 2013 to 2015, and Program Director from 1994 to 2013.
Tony O’Reilly, CEO
Tony heads up Providence Resources, an oil exploration firm that traces its roots back to the early 1980s when Atlantic Resources was founded by a group of investors led by his father, Sir Anthony O’Reilly. Tony founded the current company in 1997 and became CEO in 2005 following stints in Dillon Read, Coopers and Lybrand, and Arcon International Resources.
Tony Smurfit, Group CEO
Smurfit Kappa Group
Appointed Group Chief Executive of packaging company Smurfit Kappa in 2015, Tony has worked several roles within the group in Europe and the US since joining over 20 years ago. He served as Chief Operating Officer between 2002 and 2015 and Chief Executive of Smurfit Europe between 1999 and 2002.