Business News

Global 100: Declan Kelly, Teneo Holdings

By Business & Finance
02 August 2012
Declan Kelly

Teneo CEO Declan Kelly has been described as this Irish generation’s Tony O’Reilly such is the impact he has had on the American corporate world.

As founder and CEO of global consulting firm Teneo Holdings, Declan Kelly has found the perfect vehicle with which to use his corporate problem solving skills. From Teneo’s headquarters on the 45th floor of New York’s 601 Lexington Avenue building, the company provides public affairs, investor and public relations as well as investment banking advice to its rapidly expanding client base which count Coca Cola among its ranks. The firm has more than 130 employees and offices in multiple strategic markets around the world.

Teneo distinguishes itself in from its competitors in large part through the all-encompassing approach its takes to its services. The latest aspect to the business, Teneo Intelligence, is headed up by a former an ex-CIA and Department of Defense figure and aims to identify trouble spots around the world and analyse their potential effect on global markets.

Before founding Teneo in 2011, Kelly acted as economic envoy to Northern Ireland after being appointed to the post in 2009 by US secretary of state Hillary Clinton. It began an important relationship with the Clintons that has since developed with Teneo being an important advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative, the former president was in fact on the advisory board of Teneo for a time. Teneo’s current president and one of its co-founders Douglas Band has been an advisor to US President Bill Clinton for 17 years and continues to serves as counselor to him.

Kelly’s current status in corporate America represents a significant journey for a man who began his career as a journalist in the Nenagh Guardian and Tipperary Star newspapers.

Until July of 2009, Kelly had served as executive vice-president and chief integration officer of FTI Consulting, one of the world’s leading international consulting companies.

In his role at FTI, a 3,500-person business with a market capitalisation of over $2 billion, Kelly was responsible for the operational integration of the company’s various businesses in more than 20 countries around the world. He also had responsibility for corporate strategy, global business development, global client management and all of the company’s marketing and communications functions.

Prior to taking an executive officer position at FTI, he was chairman and CEO of Financial Dynamics in the United States and chairman of Financial Dynamics in Ireland. Financial Dynamics (FD) is one of the world’s largest and most successful financial communications companies and Kelly was a member of the senior management team that sold FD to FTI Consulting in September of 2006.

He became part of the FD business team and moved to the US when he sold his company, Gallagher and Kelly Public Relations, to FD at the start of the last decade. Prior to that, he held a number of senior management positions with other leading communications companies in Dublin.

He began his career as a journalist and formerly worked for the Nenagh Guardian and Tipperary Star newspapers in Tipperary before joining The Cork Examiner newspaper in the mid-1990s. He was selected as the recipient of the AT Cross Business Journalist of The Year Award in 1994.

A graduate of National University of Ireland, Galway, Kelly now serves as the chairman of the university’s US Foundation Board and also sits on the executive board of the American Ireland Fund. His relationship to President Clinton was of vital importance to Clinton’s appearance at the Worldwide Ireland Fund Conference in Cork in June of this year.

Kelly has been recognised on a number of occasions for business excellence and his work in the not-for-profit sector.
In 2011 he received an honorary doctorate from Queen’s University Belfast in recognition of his service to business and the economy of Northern Ireland and in 2008 he became the youngest-ever recipient of the American Irish Historical Society’s prestigious gold medal. The medal is given annually to one person deemed to have made a unique contribution to Irish-American society.