Company of the Month

January 2014: Google

By Business & Finance
15 January 2014
Google company of the month award
Ian Hyland, publisher, Business & Finance; John Farrelly, general manager, SAS Ireland;  John Herlihy, vice president of global ad operations, Google.

Celebrating 10 years in Ireland in 2013, Google’s reputation, presence and investment here continues to grow exponentially.

When Google established operations in Ireland in 2003, it was to great fanfare, and given that the tech giant has become the flagship for FDI in Ireland, praise for Google’s decision to set up here was well warranted.

The benefit of Google’s choice of Dublin as its EMEA headquarters has undoubtedly proven to be of even greater importance than the significant employment the company creates, which currently stands at over 2,500. Each subsequent announcement of technology investment in Ireland cites Google and other tech giants’ presence as a major influence on their own decision to base their companies here.

With Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Dropbox following suit in basing international operations here, Google’s commitment to Ireland has provided an invaluable stepping stone for the country to become a global leader in the online advertising and new media sector.

Google’s EMEA on Dublin’s Barrow Street provides technical, sales and operations support to customers in over 50 countries worldwide and currently has over 65 nationalities working at its Dublin base, making it Google’s largest operations outside of the US. As Google’s centre for sales EMEA, the company works with a broad range of businesses and markets, including SMEs, multinationals, AdWords, AdSense, Display, mobile advertising and more.

Google engineers in Ireland have managed the infrastructure for all of its products across the region, from ‘Search’ to Google’s web browser ‘Chrome’ and social networking feature ‘Google+’.

Google’s EMEA HQ has also accounted for the biggest commercial property deals in recent years.In 2011, the company spent €226mn on three office blocks that make up its Barrow Street campus, including €99mn on the Montevetro skyscraper – Dublin’s tallest commercial building. This year, Google is set to pay €65mn for the Grand Mill Quay building on Barrow Street in the docklands where it already has a sizeable presence. In 2012, Google announced the investment of €75mn in the building of a new data centre in Profile Park, Clondalkin. The centre now provides employment for 30 people, with roles ranging from computer technicians, electrical engineers to catering and security staff. The data centre also hosts computers to run cloud computing services, such as the Google search engine, Gmail and Google Maps. According to Google, it will rank as one of the most energy-efficient data centres in the world.

Throughout its 10 years here, Google has cited its capital investment in Ireland as evidence of its contribution to the tech industry here and its vital role in fostering an enterprise eco-system. In early 2013, Google announced the development of a new digital innovation centre in Dublin that will bring up to 15,000 extra overseas business visitors to the city each year. The 15,000sq ft premises, called the Foundry, is Google’s first such investment outside of the US and was officially unveiled by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny in September 2013.

“It’s quite extraordinary in the excitement and the range in what they’re doing,” the Taoiseach said at the unveiling. “To go through the transformation of this building from what was a failed builder asset to what it is now – actually the centre of the Google digital world where every other element of Google is now following the lead given by Dublin.”

About the CEO

John Herlihy is one of the senior figures in Ireland’s tech industry. As the vice president of Google’s global ad operations, Herlihy drives the company’s online advertising operations from Dublin.

Herlihy joined the search engine giant in 2005 and built its online sales and operations channels in new and existing markets across EMEA. He has been appointed to the Irish advisory board of the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.

Previously, Herlihy held senior management positions at several global technology companies including First Data, PeopleSoft, Adobe Systems Inc. and Oracle Corporation.

He began his career as a chartered accountant at global accountancy practice KPMG in its Dublin office, before relocating to the US in 1993.

He holds a Bachelor of Commerce from UCD and is a qualified chartered accountant.

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Business & Finance, Company of the Month

Business & Finance, in association with SAS Ireland, recognises excellence in business through the ‘Company of the Month’ award. The Company of the Month award recognises the company which best demonstrates outstanding business leadership, sustainable growth, innovative strategy, strong financial returns and employee development.