CEO 100

Business & Finance CEO 100 Index 2021 — Part 1

By Business & Finance
05 April 2022

Business & Finance has released the annual CEO 100 Index, recognising the leading chief executives operating in Ireland in 2021.

Part 1Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

The full list is available to download here

The CEO 100 Index launch webinar – themed ‘Leading the Way: New Era, No Limits’ – is available to watch on demand here.

Jim Bergin, Co-op Chief Executive,

Since joining Glanbia in 1984, Jim has held numerous Senior Management positions across the business. In 2003, he joined the Ingredients business as Operations Manager before moving to the role of Chief Executive Officer of Glanbia Ingredients Ireland (GII) in 2005. With the formation of Glanbia Ireland in 2017, he took over as CEO to move the business on to the next level. Jim is also a Director of Ornua (formerly known as the Irish Dairy Board) and a former Chairman of the Irish Dairy Industry Association.

Bertrand Bodson, CEO,
Keyword Studios

Bertrand (46) brings deep experience in driving and executing growth strategies for international businesses gained throughout his 23-year career through establishing new business models and innovative platforms, developing strategic partnerships, international expansion and digital transformation. He joins from global healthcare leader Novartis where, in his role as Chief Digital Officer since 2018, and as an Executive Committee member, he managed the digital transformation of the business, leading large-scale teams, securing a number of strategic partnerships and playing a key role in the development of its corporate culture for 100,000 colleagues. Bertrand previously spent four years as Chief Digital and Chief Marketing Officer at Sainsbury’s Argos where he spearheaded the transformation from a traditional catalogue business to the third largest online retailer in the UK. Bertrand's previous experience includes senior roles at EMI Group, (which he co-founded) and Amazon, and he is currently a non-executive director of Tesco plc and Wolters Kluwer N.V.

Conor Brennan, CEO,
Arachas Corporate Bookers

Conor Brennan is the Chief Executive Officer of Arachas Corporate Brokers, one of the leading brokers in Ireland. In addition, in 2021 the Ardonagh Group made the strategic decision to headquarter the newly formed Ardonagh Europe in Dublin and appoint Conor CEO of that entity to lead its strategy of replicating the Arachas acquisition strategy across Europe. Conor led the Arachas business since 2018 through a period of rapid expansion both prior to and following its acquisition by the Ardonagh Group of companies in 2020 to make Arachas one of Ireland’s largest nationwide insurance broker with over 450 employees and offices nationwide. Arachas is the SME broker of choice & with over 50 years’ experience, has built trusted relationships with clients and insurance partners. More recently, Conor has worked closely with the Ardonagh Group, the IDA, and local representatives to establish a Global Data Analytics Centre in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath to better serve its global customer base assets. The Centre is actively recruiting highly skilled individuals to fill over 60 roles including Data Scientists and Data Visualisation executives. Prior to becoming CEO of Arachas and Ardonagh Europe, Conor previously held a number of national and international executive positions with leading global insurer Zurich Insurance PLC.

JD Buckley, CEO,
Sky Ireland

JD Buckley is Chief Executive Officer of Sky Ireland and has led the Irish business since 2012. JD is responsible for Sky’s consumer and media divisions, driving the growth of the overall business and leading a team of 1,000 employees in Ireland. Under JD’s leadership, the Sky business has doubled over the last 8 years with the launch of Sky Broadband, Sky Q and its streaming service, NOW. JD has also spearheaded a major investment in sports with a groundbreaking deal with the GAA and launching the Sports Extra pack. Prior to joining Sky, JD held senior roles with international mobile operator, Digicel, and was a strategy consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Michael Burke, Managing Director,
Chanelle Pharma

Chanelle Pharma started with humble beginnings in 1985 with just 2 members of staff when the company’s founder and MD, Michael Burke, a Veterinary Surgeon, recognised the need for a professional, rapid and competitive international veterinary distribution service. Since its inception, the company has grown organically through a number of strategic business shifts to become a leading provider of human and animal health generic pharmaceuticals worldwide. Today, Chanelle Pharma is at the forefront of the industry, ranking amongst the best companies in the veterinary and human pharmaceuticals sector. In Ireland, it is the largest indigenous manufacturer of both human and veterinary generic pharmaceuticals.

Rory Byrne, CEO,
Dole Plc

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.

Bob Casey, Managing Director,
Korn Ferry

Mr. Casey is a commercial leader operating at senior management and board level both in Ireland and internationally. Mr. Casey recruits CEOs, chairmen, non-executive directors and other senior executives across a broad range of industries, with a specialism in consumer, hospitality & retail focused clients. He is also a member of the CEO and Board Practice and the EMEA Sports Practice. Working with multinationals, both publicly quoted and privately owned, and private equity backed organisations, Mr Casey is uniquely positioned with demonstrable experience in how to align a company’s talent strategy and overall capabilities with organisational strategy and culture from his time as a chief executive. A former professional rugby player and leader, having represented Leinster, London Irish, Ireland and the Barbarians, Mr. Casey is adept at working within a high performance team environment.

Leo Clancy, CEO,
Enterprise Ireland

Leo Clancy is the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Ireland, the state agency that helps Irish companies to start, grow, innovate and win export sales in global markets. Before being appointed as CEO of Enterprise Ireland, Leo led the Technology, Consumer and Business Services sector as well as IT, Marketing Communications and Corporate Services at IDA Ireland and was a member of the Executive Management team. In that role, Leo worked extensively with global technology and services companies invested in Ireland. Prior to his public sector career, Leo spent 17 years in the telecommunications industry, including in a number of management, technical and engineering roles. He was part of the senior leadership team at e|net, a high-growth Irish wholesale broadband provider and spent his early career at Ericsson, primarily working on global services for deployment of mobile and fixed networks. Leo is a frequent contributor to press interviews, conference speaking and blogs. On behalf of Enterprise Ireland, he is a member of a number of cross-departmental and cross-agency groups.

Dr. Ciara Clancy, Founder & CEO,
Beats Medical

Dr. Clancy is a chartered physiotherapist and researcher who attained her PhD in Neurosurgery Outcomes from Trinity College, Dublin. Ciara is a multi-award-winning entrepreneur, who is passionate about advancing therapies and improving outcomes through digital innovation. As the Founder and CEO of Beats Medical, Dr Clancy’s mission is to empower people with neurological conditions, by helping them to manage their condition independently. Their goal is to combine innovative strategies and advance clinically proven therapies and assessments from the hospital to the home, providing improved outcomes for patients, insurers, pharmaceuticals and hospital groups. With a background as a chartered physiotherapist, Dr Ciara Clancy is founder and CEO of Beats Medical, an industry-leading Digital Therapeutics company who utilize smartphone technology to individually tailor assessments and therapies for people with CNS disorders. Ciara is passionate about advancing therapies and improving outcomes through digital innovation.

Alan Coleman, Founder & CEO,
Wolfgang Digital

Alan is the Founder and CEO of performance marketing agency Wolfgang Digital. Wolfgang Digital’s mission is simple, exceptional digital marketing. Wolfgang has won 17 international awards for their work including 5 Grands Prix, European “Best Small PPC Agency” followed by “Best Large Integrated Agency” in Europe. Alan writes for Moz and speaks at global digital conferences such as SXSW, SMX New York, Hero Conf, SES London, OMCAP Berlin, AdWorld Experience Bologna, The Web Summit and more. Prior to digital marketing, Alan ran an organic lunch delivery business and sold smoothies and soup at festivals around Ireland. Alan is a year-round sea swimmer and is becoming increasingly interested in trees.

Patrick Collison, CEO & Co-Founder,

Patrick Collison is chief executive officer and co-founder of Stripe, a technology company that builds economic infrastructure for the internet. After experiencing firsthand how difficult it was to set up an online business, Patrick and his brother John started Stripe in 2010. Their goal was to make accepting payments on the internet simpler and more inclusive. Today, Stripe powers millions of online businesses around the world. Prior to Stripe, Patrick co-founded Auctomatic, which was acquired by Live Current Media for $5 million in March 2008. In 2016, he was named a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship by President Obama. Originally from Limerick, Ireland, Patrick now lives in San Francisco.

Lorna Conn, CEO,

Lorna Conn joined Cpl in October 2017 as Chief Financial Officer and was appointed Deputy CEO in April 2021 and CEO in January 2022. Lorna has previously held senior roles in a number of public companies, residing in both Ireland and America during this time. Lorna is a Chartered Director, a Chartered Accountant and trained with Deloitte. Lorna holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in University College Dublin and a Masters in Accounting in the UCD Smurfit School. Lorna is passionate about Ireland, as a location to live and to do business in.

Paul Coulson, Chairman & CEO,
Ardagh Group

Paul Coulson is Chairman and CEO of Ardagh Group. He graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a business degree in 1973. He spent five years with Price Waterhouse in London and Dublin and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1978. He then established his own accounting firm before 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 the transformation of Ardagh from a small, single plant operation into a leading global packaging company with annual revenues of $7 billion. Over the last 30 years he has been involved in the creation and development of a number of businesses apart from Yeoman and Ardagh. These include Fanad Fisheries, a leading Irish salmon farming company, and Sterile Technologies. Prior to its sale to Stericycle, Inc. in 2006, Sterile Technologies had been developed into the leading medical waste management company in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Sean Coyle, CEO,
Origin Enterprises

Sean Coyle was appointed Group CEO on 1 July 2020. Sean joined Origin in September 2018 as Chief Financial Officer and was appointed to the Board as an Executive Director in October 2018. Sean was previously Group Finance Director of UDG Healthcare plc and also served as Managing Director of UDG’s Healthcare Supply Chain Division. Prior to UDG, Sean was Chief Financial Officer and an Executive Director of Aer Lingus plc. He also spent over ten years in Ryanair Holdings plc, where he held a number of senior management positions. Sean is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland and completed his training with KPMG following his graduation from Trinity College Dublin.

Steve Cutler, CEO,
Icon PLC

Dr. Steve Cutler was appointed Chief Executive Officer of ICON plc in March 2017, having previously served as Chief Operating Officer from January, 2014. Dr. Cutler served as Group President Clinical Research Services since November 2011 until his appointment as Chief Operating Officer. Dr. Cutler was appointed to the Board of ICON plc in November 2015. Prior to joining the Company, Dr. Cutler held the position of Chief Executive Officer of Kendle having previously served as Chief Operating Officer. Prior to Kendle, Dr. Cutler spent 14 years with Quintiles where he served as Senior Vice President, Global Project Management; Senior Vice President, Clinical, Medical and Regulatory; Senior Vice President, Project Management – Europe; and Vice President, Oncology – Europe, as well as regional leadership positions in South Africa and Australia. Prior to joining Quintiles, Dr. Cutler held positions with Sandoz (now Novartis) in Australia and Europe. Dr. Cutler holds a B.Sc. and a Ph.D. from the University of Sydney and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Birmingham (UK).

John Delves, Managing Director,

A leader that likes to disrupt the status quo and rock revenue growth wherever his career has taken him! Having spent eleven years in Denis O Brien’s Digicel John is no stranger to challenging the status quo and disrupting competitive markets. John’s international business experience and acumen drives a focus on rapid revenue growth coupled with a laser focus on customer centricity. As a leader John truly has the ability to harnesses the power of people within all organisations, he has worked in, both at home and abroad, creating and cultivating high performing teams and individuals. Having returned to Ireland in 2018 John has quickly established himself as a business leader who is open, honest and ready to shake things up! ‘it’s all about the team’

John Donnelly, Country Leader,

John Donnelly is the Country Leader for Oracle’s operations in Ireland, who employ over 1,000 people here. Having been appointed to the role in 2017 he is responsible for maximising the success of Oracle and its customers in Ireland. He is a successful senior sales leader with a strong track record of high performance, leadership and team development and has held a number of roles since joining Oracle in 2003. John’s other responsibilities include the leadership of the SMB Technology sales business for Oracle UKI, Benelux & Nordics.

Alan Duffy, CEO & Head of Banking,

As well as being HSBC Ireland’s CEO, Alan is also in charge of the company’s corporate banking and security services businesses in Ireland. He joined HSBC Ireland in 2006 and his experience of 25 years spans the US, Canadian, European and Nordic markets. He holds an MBA from the Smurfit Graduate School of Business.

Dave Elliot, CEO,
Aviva Life & Pensions

Dave Elliot joined Aviva Life & Pensions Ireland DAC as Chief Executive Officer in August 2020, having been a director of the life Board since 2018. Before joining the Irish team, Dave was Chief of Staff to the Group CEO at Aviva plc having previously served as Chief Financial Officer for Aviva International and Director of Investor Relations. Other roles included HBOS general insurance and life, Bermudian Insurance sector. A qualified chartered accountant, he joined Aviva in 2009. He qualified as a chartered accountant with Arthur Anderse.

Robert Finnegan, CEO,
3 Ireland 

Robert Finnegan has been Three Ireland’s CEO since the company’s launch in 2005 and in addition to this role, became CEO of Three UK in April 2020. Three Ireland & Three UK are owned by renowned multinational conglomerate CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd, which is committed to innovation and technology with diverse businesses employing over 300,000 people in 50 countries across the world. In Ireland, Three is the largest mobile telecommunications provider with 39% market share and 2.9 million customers, with its network carrying over 60% of all mobile data traffic in the country. In the UK, Three has 10% market share with its customers using 3.5 times more data than the industry average, as well as having three times as much 5G spectrum as any other MNO. As CEO of Three in both countries, Robert is committed to providing its customers with a better connected life through meaningful products, best in class service and a connected network experience. Robert worked for CK Hutchison (formerly Hutchison Whampoa) in Hong Kong for thirteen years before he joined Three Ireland. There he served as CEO of its beverage division, Watson’s, where he strategically led the development of its water business in China and Europe, building it to market leader position. He also initiated and led the divestiture of Powwow to Nestle for US$545m.

Mark Foley, Group CEO,
Eirgrid Plc

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.

Peter Foley, Founder & CEO,
Lets Get Checked

Peter Foley is the CEO and Founder of LetsGetChecked, a global healthcare solutions company that provides the tools to manage health from home through direct access to diagnostic testing, virtual care, and medication delivery for a wide range of health and wellness conditions. Peter has always been passionate about making healthcare patient-led, and allowing consumers to be part of the diagnostic testing process and not once removed. What sparked the idea for LetsGetChecked was a personal experience which resulted in Peter not having access to diagnostic testing in a time of need. Prior to LetsGetChecked, Foley worked in a number of consultancy roles, specializing in the fields of healthcare strategy, planning, and facility development, as well as completing a law degree and masters qualification in ICD-10 coding. The purpose of the company is to give people the knowledge that they need to live healthier, happier lives.

Dee Forbes, Director General,

Dee Forbes is the first woman to hold the role of Director-General at RTÉ, Ireland’s national public service media. A native of West Cork, Dee moved to the UK in 1989, beginning her career at advertising agency Young and Rubicam. She was President and Managing Director of Discovery Networks Northern Europe, before returning to Ireland to take up one of the most senior positions in Irish media.

Neil Freshwater, CEO,

Neil Freshwater is the CEO of Zurich Insurance plc (ZIP) the main licensed legal entity for all EU based general insurance business of the Zurich Insurance Group. ZIP operates from its Head Office in Dublin and through a network of 12 branches throughout Europe, writing c€9bn Gross Written Premium per annum. Neil has worked for Zurich for over 8 years since joining in 2013 as CFO of Zurich’s UK General Insurance business. Neil was subsequently appointed as the CEO of Zurich Legacy Solutions in 2016 where he was responsible for the strategic management, run-off and disposal of Zurich’s discontinued and non-core portfolios, de-risking legacy exposures, delivering economic and legal finality, and enabling management to focus human and financial resources on Zurich’s core business. Neil is a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries with over 30 years of insurance industry experience in a wide variety of roles including UK CFO of Catlin, and in a number of actuarial, finance, change and operational roles at Aviva and Swiss Re. Neil is a graduate of LoughboroughUniversity.

Stephen Garvey, CEO & Founder,
Glenveagh Properties PLC

Stephen is Chief Executive Officer of Glenveagh Properties PLC. Under his guidance, Glenveagh has scaled its operations delivering more than 3,000 homes in Ireland since 2018 and is on track to reach its target of 3,000 homes per year. Before founding Glenveagh, Stephen founded Bridgedale Homes, which built residential developments in the Greater Dublin Area from 2003. His substantial experience also includes working with several large Irish property developers over the last 25 years.

Business & Finance CEO 100 index 2022 (alphabetical):

View part one (B-G)

View part two (G-K)

View part three (K-O)

View part four (P-W)