Business & Finance 100

Business & Finance CEO 100 Index – Part 1

By Business & Finance
16 December 2020

Business & Finance have released the annual CEO 100 Index, recognising the top chief executives leading companies in Ireland in 2020.

Part 1Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

The full list is available to download here

Conor Brennan, CEO,
Arachas Corporate Brokers

Conor is the Chief Executive Officer of Arachas Corporate Brokers and previously held a number of national and international roles with Zurich Insurance. Joining Zurich in 2008 as Director of Broker Distribution he subsequently was appointed CEO of Zurich’s General Insurance business in Ireland in 2104. Following a successful stint, he was then promoted to lead the General Insurance Business of Zurich in the United Kingdom He returned to working in Ireland in 2018 and has led the Arachas business through a change in ownership and the rapid expansion of the business to a position where it is now seen as the leading independent insurance broker in the market with over 300 staff and locations in Dublin, Cork, Kildare, Waterford and Galway. Prior to working in the Insurance business, Conor was the Deputy CEO of Chambers Ireland (The national body for the Chambers of Commerce) and before that held a number of positions with technology and media businesses.

Carin Bryans, Managing Director,
JP Morgans

Managing Director and Head of Ireland, Carin is responsible for J.P. Morgan’s Investor Services business in Ireland. Carin has been with J.P. Morgan for 20 years and has held a number of positions including head of operations and head of client services. Between 2010 and 2011, Carin was Chairman of the Irish Funds Industry Association and is also a founding member of Women in Banking and Finance in Ireland.

JD Buckley, Managing Director,
Sky Ireland

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.


Rory Byrne, CEO,
Total Produce

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.

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%.

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.

Paul Coulson, Chairman &CEO,
Ardagh Group

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.

Patrick Coveney, CEO,

Patrick Coveney is chief executive officer (“CEO”) of Greencore Group plc, a position he has held since 2008; prior to this, Patrick also served as the Group’s CFO. Greencore employs over 12,200 people, with reported annual revenue in the UK & Ireland of more than £1.2 billion. Greencore sits in the FTSE 250 index, with a market capitalisation of c. £517 million. Prior to joining Greencore, Patrick was a Partner at McKinsey & Company focused on the food and beverage industry, finishing his career there as Managing Partner for McKinsey in Ireland. He is a Non-Executive Director of Glanbia plc and Non-Executive Chairman of Core Media Group. In September 2020 it was announced that Patrick has been appointed President of the food and grocery industry charity IGD. He steps into this role in January 2021. Patrick is a former Rhodes Scholar at New College, Oxford (earning an M.Phil and D.Phil in Management Studies) and he holds a B.Comm (First Class) from University College Cork. He played senior rugby for UCC, Oxford and London Irish and represented Ireland and Munster at underage level.

Edel Creely, Group Managing Director ,
Trilogy Technologies

Edel Creely was instrumental in the formation of Trilogy Technologies in 2009 and exited the business to Arkphire Group in 2019. She currently leads their IT Services business as Managing Director for Arkphire Services. She was Chair of the Irish Software Association (ISA) from 2013-2015, and appointed to the board of Ibec in 2015, serving as President for the 2017/18 year.

Sharon Cunningham, Co-founder & CEO,
Shorla Pharma

Sharon Cunningham is CEO and Co-Founder of Shorla Pharma, a speciality pharmaceutical company.

Sharon was named Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur 2019 and was included on a list of 50 people to look out for in 2020 by the Irish Times. She won the prestigious Worldwide Association of MBA’s Best Entrepreneurial Venture Award (Private Sector) 2020.

Prior to founding Shorla Pharma with her business partner Orlaith Ryan, she was Head of Finance at EirGen Pharma, a subsidiary of OPKO Health Inc. Sharon is a PwC qualified Chartered Accountant and holds a BSc in Finance from University College Cork and an MBA from University College Dublin Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.

Kari Daniels, CEO,
Tesco Ireland

As CEO, Kari is responsible for leading the Tesco business in the Republic of Ireland, having joined in 2018.

Kari has a career spanning over 30 years in FMCG, manufacturing and retail roles in both Commercial and Marketing functions. In her 19 years at Tesco, she has held several senior commercial and marketing roles in the UK and Europe including Director of Brand in UK Marketing. Prior to Tesco she was a commercial director at Superdrug and spent 6 years in FMCG brand marketing at Wella and SC Johnson, having started her career in clothing at Arcadia.

In addition to leading the business in Ireland, Kari also leads Tesco Ireland’s sustainability strategy, the Little Helps Plan, our ambitions regarding packaging reduction and is a passionate supporter of Diversity & Inclusion in the workplace.

Kari is a member of the Irish Business and Employers Confederation (Ibec) board, and also sits on the Business in the Community Leaders’ Group on Sustainability, which is a coalition of Ireland’s leading organisations that is striving to improve the sustainability of the Irish business sector.

Jim Dollard, Executive Director,
Electric Ireland

Jim Dollard was appointed to the position of Executive Director, Generation & Trading in May 2018. Prior to this he held the position of Executive Director for Business Service Centre (BSC) and Electric Ireland. Jim was previously the General Manager of Electric Ireland. An accountant, he began his career in ESB in 1992 and has held a number of senior management positions throughout the Group including Acting Group Financial Controller and Financial Controller ESB Energy International.

Alan Duffy, CEO,
HSBC Ireland

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.


Bob Etchingham, CEO,

Bob Etchingham founded the Applegreen Group in 1992 after working for Esso in the Republic of Ireland and the UK for over 10 years; he has over 30 years’ experience in the retail fuel market and holds a Master’s Degree in Economics from University College Dublin.

Robert Finnegan, CEO,
Three Ireland

Robert Finnegan new

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 this year (2020). Three Ireland & 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 one of the leading mobile operators with 35% market share, with its network carrying over 65% 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. Prior to his role as CEO at Watson’s, he held positions as Financial Controller and Finance and Strategic Planning Director at Hutchison for six years. In addition to Three, Robert is also a non-Executive Director of AMCK, a leader in the Irish aircraft leasing market in Ireland and a CK Hutchison sister company of Three.

Sinead Fitzmaurice, CEO,

Sinead Fitzmaurice, TransferMateSinead trained as a chartered accountant at PwC Ireland. She gained 10 years international experience at the firm, managing projects in London & Jersey. Sinead was appointed Group Financial Controller at Venner International where she managed the firms’ successful IPO. She returned to Ireland in 2005, joining The Taxback Group as Group CFO. Since then Sinead has worked closely with the Group Founder, Terry Clune who five years later founded TransferMate Global Payments. Since its inception Sinead had been a key member of TransferMate’s leadership team and in 2019 Terry promoted Sinead to TransferMate CEO. TransferMate, through its market leading regulated payments technology powers payments products for world leading banks and software platforms via an integrated API solution.

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.

Dee Forbes, Director General,

Dee is the first woman to hold the Director General role at RTÉ. Before joining RTÉ she was President and Managing Director of Discovery Networks Northern Europe. After graduating from University College Dublin she moved to the UK in 1989 to begin her career in the advertising agency Young and Rubicam.

Cathal Friel, Executive Chairman and Co-Founder,
Open Orphan

Cathal is 56 years-old, and is an entrepreneur, starting work at 16 years due to his father’s untimely illness he went on to complete his education at night classes and got an MBA from the University of Ulster in 1990. He spent the following five years lecturing part time in International Marketing and Business Planning at the University of Ulster, while running his own new technology services business. In 2001 he was part of the team who successfully established Merrion Stockbrokers in Dublin and in 2007 he founded Raglan Capital. Cathal is the Executive Chairman and Co-Founder of Open Orphan plc which IPO’d on the London and Dublin stock exchanges in June 2019. He also co-founded Amryt Pharma plc in 2015 along with Joe Wiley, which is listed on the London stock exchange since 2016 and which listed on Nasdaq in July 2020. Prior to Amryt, Cathal founded Fastnet Oil & Gas plc in 2011 which he IPO’d on the London stock exchange. Cathal is a finalist in the International category as part of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2020.

John Goulding, CEO,

John Goulding is CEO and co-founder of Workvivo, a Cork-based technology company providing an internal communications platform designed to increase employee engagement. John was previously CEO of CoreHR, a global leader in the HR tech space and Senior Director of Global Support in EMC (now Dell EMC). John and his co-founder Joe Lennon, founded Workvivo in 2017 to address the increasing problem of employee disengagement globally. Workvivo clients around the world see increases in staff retention, productivity, culture amplification and customer experience through their employees’ use of the platform. John holds an MBA and a Masters in Engineering Science in Nuclear Fusion Research at UCC.

Cathriona Hallahan, Managing Director,

As Managing Director of Microsoft in Ireland, Cathriona drives the major tech company’s operations in Ireland. She also represents the company in all its strategies, corporate affairs and communications. She joined Microsoft in 1986 and for over 30 year has held a variety of roles including senior positions in finance and operations.

Seamus Hand, Managing Director,

Seamus is the Managing Partner of KPMG in Ireland and is a member of KPMG’s Global and EMA boards. Seamus graduated from DCU with a BA in Accounting and Finance in 1992 and a Masters in Accounting in 1993. He joined KPMG in 1993 working in the financial services practice and was seconded for two years to KPMG in Australia from 1996 to 1998. Seamus was elected to the KPMG partnership in 2002 and before his election as Managing Partner in December 2018, he led KPMG’s financial service tax practice in Ireland for 6 years. Seamus previously was the chairman of the KPMG European Investment Management tax network and the KPMG Global Asset Finance tax network. He has worked with many significant global and domestic clients across the financial services market place with experience in aircraft finance, asset management, banking and insurance sectors particularly in relation to significant M&A transactions.

Tony Hanway, CEO,
Virgin Media

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.

Margaret Heffernan, CEO,
Dunnes Stores

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.

Paul Henderson, CEO,
DMG Media

Paul is the CEO of DMG media Ireland multi media publisher of,,/,,, The Irish Daily Mail, The Irish Mail on Sunday. Previously, he was the Director of Sales at Independent Star limited, Group Sales Manager at TV3 Television Network. BA, MMI Grad, Chartered Director IOD, Diploma in Business Finance IMI.

Peter Hendrick, CEO,
National Broadband Ireland

Peter Hendrick is the CEO of NBI, taking charge of one of the most ambitious telecoms projects in the world, ending the digital divide in Ireland. Having worked on the project since 2015, Peter successfully led NBI through the competitive bid for the National Broadband Plan as the Managing Bid Director, heading up a team of some of the best and brightest minds in telecoms. Peter holds 20 years of telecom, engineering, sales & executive experience and has held senior roles in Siemens and enet. In 2006, he co-founded AirSpeed Telecom, serving as the company’s Chief Operations Officer until 2015, helping build it into a national telecoms business focused on delivering managed telecommunication services to both retail and wholesale customers across Ireland. Following Granahan McCourts acquisition of AirSpeed Telecom in 2014, Peter led the integration of the company with enet Wholesale networks. Peter has received a number of industry awards during his career, including a top ten placing in the Deloitte Fast 50 Technology Awards and the Irish Times Tech 50. He holds an honours degree in Electrical Engineering, Telecommunications and Electronics from Dublin Institute of Technology and has continued to support the institute in the role of external examiner covering both electronic and electrical engineering disciplines.

Business & Finance CEO 100 (alphabetical by surname):

View part one (B-H)

View part two (H-M)

View part three (M-P)

View part four (P-T)