January 2015: Robert Finnegan, CEO, Three Ireland

Business Person of the Month | Thu 29 Jan | Author – Business & Finance
Three Ireland BPOTM Award 2015
Robert Finnegan, Three Ireland; Gerard Corcoran, AIB Private Banking; Ian Hyland, Business & Finance

Providing the best value and service to its customers, Finnegan and Three Ireland continue to set the bar in terms of network connectivity, both in urban and rural areas throughout Ireland.

As Ireland’s largest high-speed network and fastest growing mobile operator, Three has a near 40% share of Ireland’s mobile telecommunications market.

Robert Finnegan, Three CEO, has successfully positioned the company as the driving force for change in the Irish telecommunications market.

In 2013, the mobile communications company announced it was to buy leading competitor O2 Ireland from Telefónica in an €850m deal. Finnegan believes the acquisition leaves Hutchison Whampoa-owned Three optimally positioned to become the number one mobile operator.

“With the combined strengths of the two businesses, Three will have the scale and financial strength necessary to compete more aggressively. Our ability to invest, coupled with the combined subscriber base of both businesses, will create new competitive dynamics in the Irish telecoms market,” says Finnegan.

Three was the first mobile operator in Ireland to introduce innovative price plans like FlexiFix and introduced ‘All You Can Eat Data’ before any other operator. Thanks to Three, many consumers and businesses in rural Ireland are now connected to broadband.

“Increasing access to high-quality, high-speed networks for Irish businesses and consumers is an essential part of Ireland’s national economic recovery. The O2 acquisition has enabled Three to invest significantly in building a state-of-the-art 4G network, delivering very real benefits to customers in urban and rural areas throughout the country,” adds Finnegan.

Strong parent

Hutchison Whampoa, Three’s parent company, is a renowned multinational conglomerate committed to innovation and technology. Its diverse businesses employ over a quarter of a million people in 52 countries worldwide.

The company previously owned and ran the Orange network globally before moving into 3G services worldwide under the Three brand operating in UK, Ireland, Australia, Austria, Denmark, Hong Kong, Italy, Macau and Sweden.

Hutchison Whampoa has invested over €1.1bn in Three’s Irish business, bringing its total investment in Ireland to approximately €2bn. This investment clearly shows that Hutchison Whampoa has great confidence in the future of the Irish market and Finnegan’s leadership.

Job creation

The announcement that Three Ireland and the Indian firm Tech Mahindra are to open a new customer service centre in Waterford was made in 2014.

Finnegan states: “This announcement will enhance Three’s customer service operations and bring valuable jobs to the Waterford area. We have already announced an additional 90 full-time positions at the Three customer care centre in Limerick, bringing the total employees there to 440.

“We have an ambition to deliver the ultimate customer service experience and this is a great step towards achieving that ambition. These new positions in Waterford will bolster our operations and help us to deliver market-leading support and services to our customers,” Finnegan concludes.

CV highlights

  • A qualified accountant from Waterford, Finnegan worked for a number of Hutchison Whampoa other businesses for 13 years before joining Three.
  • At Hutchison Whampoa, he served as CEO of its beverage division, Watson’s, which employed 3,000 people and had an annual turnover of $200m.
  • 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.

AIB Private Banking BPOTM